Back in August, our blog reported how President Obama commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates serving lengthy prison terms for nonviolent drug offenses, meaning he reduced the length of their sentences while leaving other conditions in place.
While there were initially some concerns about the speed with which the administration’s much-publicized clemency initiative was proceeding, they have been largely allayed since the time of our last post on this topic. That’s because in addition to the aforementioned 214 commutations, an additional 111 commutations were handed down just a few weeks later — setting a new single-month record — and another 102 were handed down in September.
In recent updates, President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 inmates given disproportionately severe sentences for nonviolent drugs offenses, including 42 sent to prison for life, just last week.
With this latest round, President Obama has now granted 872 commutations during his time in the Oval Office, putting him well ahead of his 11 presidential predecessors, who granted a combined total of 715 commutations during their respective periods in office.
While many groups have come out in support of President Obama’s rapid response over the last few months, others remain convinced that the pace needs to be quickened given that there are currently more than 11,000 clemency petitions still pending and the administration has only two months left to fulfill its mission.
Indeed, some have called on the president to simply commute the sentences of all nonviolent drug offenders who have served over ten years in federal prison.
While such a move appears unlikely, those involved with the clemency initiative have intimated that more commutations are forthcoming given that the 4,000 lawyers participating in the review process are now fully trained and familiar with the process, and there is no more delay in securing pre-sentencing reports.
Here’s hoping more deserving people given otherwise draconian sentences as part of the failed war on drugs are given a new lease on life.
Stay tuned for updates on this important story …
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and your options if you are under investigation or have been charged with a federal drug crime.