The President has now shortened the sentences of 673 Americans
More than one-third of Obama's clemency recipients had been serving life sentences
President Barack Obama on Tuesday reduced the prison sentences of more than 100 Americans convicted of drug crimes, the second large batch of commutations this month.
The President has now shortened the sentences of 673 Americans, the majority of whom were convicted of drug crimes and serving long sentences. The number of commutations that Obama granted in August, 325, is the largest number ever granted in a single month.
Obama has said he wants to imbue the justice system with more fairness, including reforming mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes. Many of the criminals whose sentences were shortened Tuesday would have been given far shorter punishments under current guidelines.
The White House said Tuesday that more than one-third of Obama’s clemency recipients had been serving life sentences.
“We must remember that these are individuals – sons, daughters, parents, and, in many cases, grandparents – who have taken steps toward rehabilitation and who have earned their second chance,” wrote Neil Eggleston, Obama’s top lawyer, in a blog post Tuesday. “For each of these applicants, the President considers the individual merits of each application to determine that an applicant is ready to make use of his or her second chance.”
Several of those who received commutations on Tuesday were serving sentences that dated from the 1990s. Rudy Martinez, who was handed a life sentence in 1992 for a series of drug-dealing crimes, was issued a grant for release on December 28 of this year.
Darryl Lamar Reed, who was convicted in Northern California of intent to distribute crack, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1990. He, too, will be released on December 28.