[Dallas, TX – July 14]
President Barack Obama cut the prison sentences of 46 non-violent drug offenders on Monday, including 14 who were sentenced to life in prison, saying “their punishments didn’t fit the crime.”
“These men and women were not hardened criminals,” Obama said in a video released by the White House, noting that the overwhelming majority of the 46 had been sentenced to at least 20 years.
The move was part of a broader ongoing effort by the administration to make the U.S. criminal justice system fairer. Obama has now issued 89 commutations during his presidency, most of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under outdated sentencing guidelines. A commutation leaves the conviction in place, but reduces the punishment.
Obama wrote a personal letter to each of the 46 individuals to notify them of their commutations. Their sentences all now expire on Nov. 10, 2015.