Obama Issues Year-End Commutations For Drug Crimes | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Obama Issues Year-End Commutations For Drug Crimes

President Obama has commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of drug crimes, saying their terms were unusually harsh due to a system that treated crack cocaine as a more serious offense than powder cocaine.

The president also pardoned 13 others convicted of various other offenses.

The commutations come after the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which is aimed at reducing disparities in the way the law treats cocaine possession.

"If they had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to society," Obama said in a written statement.

"Instead, because of a disparity in the law that is now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison, separated from their families and their communities, at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year."

Reuters says:

"The eight have each served more than 15 years in prison. A White House official said their sentences had been unduly harsh and helped contribute to 'an expensive and ineffective overcrowding of our prisons.' "

The Associated Press writes:

"Previously, Obama had commuted only one sentence in the five years of his presidency, involving another drug case. He previously had pardoned 39 people. A pardon forgives a crime and wipes out the conviction, while a commutation leaves the conviction but ends the punishment.

"In August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a major shift in federal sentencing policies, targeting long mandatory terms that he said have flooded the nation's prisons with low-level drug offenders and diverted crime-fighting dollars that could be far better spent."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

WWI Diaries Of Poet Siegfried Sassoon Go Public For First Time

Nearly a dozen notebooks and journals by the author, who fought in the British Army during the war, are being released to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict.
NPR

Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.
NPR

House Approves Border Security Spending Bill, 223-189

The $694 million Border Security Supplemental Spending Bill was endorsed one day after the House Republican leadership canceled its plan to hold a vote on the legislation.
NPR

Simmering Online Debate Shows Emoji Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

A report from a local Philadelphia TV station is re-igniting a debate and getting people all up in arms. (Or should we say, up in hands?)

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.