With just about seven months left in his presidency, President Barack Obama is still getting work done, especially when it comes to freeing federal prisoners who he believes shouldn’t be incarcerated anymore. This week, it was announced that POTUS plans on commuting the sentences of 42 more inmates, 20 of which were on death row.
According to the Huffington Post, POTUS has forgiven sentences for more any other president combined, with a whopping 348 in total and 130 who were on death row. His most recent stance on clemency has been focused on “drug offenses who face disproportionately long sentences” and among this new batch of freed prisoners “nearly all had been sentenced for drug offenses, with the vast majority convicted for the distribution of crack cocaine,” the Huff Post noted.
Many of the prisoners will be released in October with the remainder being able to go home in 2017 and 2018.
But the White House noted that while POTUS is doing his part to address the prison industrial complex, more needs to be done by Congress.
“Despite these important efforts, only legislation can bring about lasting change to the federal system. There remain thousands of men and women in federal prison serving sentences longer than necessary, often due to overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences. That is one reason it is critical that both the House and the Senate continue to cooperate on a bipartisan basis to get a criminal justice reform bill to the President’s desk,” wrote White House lead counsel Neil Eggleston in a blog.
While prison rights advocates commend the President, they believe that he could even free more people, the Huff Po noted. However, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said on Friday that she was “confident that there will be many more commutations in the months to come.”
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