Report: Obama To Grant Clemency For Hundreds Of Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Photo courtesy of CBS News.

Photo courtesy of CBS News.

CBS News – As part of a new clemency initiative, President Obama could pardon hundreds or even thousands of nonviolent drug offenders by the end of his second term, Yahoo News reports.

Mr. Obama granted very few pardons in his first five years in office: He’s granted just 52 of the 1,600 pardon requests he’s received and just 10 out of 10,000 commutation requests to reduce a sentence.

To rectify that, the Justice Department in February asked defense lawyers and interest groups to help the department identify prisoners serving long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. Based on that research, the president could grant the largest number of clemencies since the 1970’s.

To help handle the project, the administration is planning on bringing on additional staff and reforming the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, Yahoo reports.

The changes are part of a broader push — by the administration and bipartisan lawmakers on Capitol Hill — to reform unfair sentencing laws and cut the Justice Department’s growing prison spending.

Last year, for instance, Attorney General Eric Holder directed prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences.

Meanwhile, lawmakers like conservative Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and liberal Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are working together on legislation covering the issue.

A November 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union said that at least 3,278 prisoners in the U.S. are serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent drug and property crimes.

9 comments

  • BeLinda

    How is he an “ahole”? He isn’t the only politician wanting changes on drug punishments, you would know that if you read the article. This is a good thing, non-violent drug offenders get more prison and jail time than most violent criminals, that is wrong and this may make the changes to get violent crimes harsher punishments.

  • Heather

    Good. Replace them with child abusers and sexual predators. Especialky if they are in there for pot.

  • darlene

    my non volient grandson in law has been in and out of prison for drugs and he sold so rabbit food laced weed and the guy came after his wife and 15 month old son which he shot her and 2 other women over bad weed sold to him, my grandaughter was 7 months along. i lost my grandaughter and great grandaughter not yet born and a 10 old lost her mom and yet my grandson in law said it wasn’t his fault,the man that shot them got life and he got it for parole violation and will be out in 2018. I forgot to say his son was sitting on his mommy lap and saw it all.
    but hes non violent

  • Sarah 1

    The draconian drug laws should all be repealed. Fifty per cent of all Senators and Congressmen as well as the last three presidents all have admitted to smoking a joint.

    Prisons should be for violent offenders. Lock up those sexual offenders for good. Make room in the prisons for long-term violent offenders.

    Good job Mr. President.

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