On Monday, President Obama posted a video on Facebook announcing he would reduce prison sentences for 46 nonviolent drug offenders, citing the fact that America spends over $80 billion per year on incarcerating these individuals and housing them for lengthy periods of time.
“Their punishments didn’t fit the crime.”
President Obama said:
These men and women were not hardened criminals, but the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years.
I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.
After the Obama administration announced it’s clemency initiative last year, over 35,000 inmates have applied to have their sentences reduced; by the end of June, 44 percent of applications were still pending. All 46 men and women met the requirements for early release determined by a list of criteria set forth by the Justice Department last year.
President Obama has commuted more prison sentences during his presidency than the last four U.S. Presidents combined.
According to the Washington Post, of the “89 prison sentences commuted, 76 of them are for nonviolent drug offenders.” You can see the list of inmates by clicking here, most were incarcerated for crimes of drug possession and distribution, and were serving sentences of a decade or more. The President noted that some had even served several decades in prison already.
President Obama has written personal letters to the soon-to-be-released inmates informing them he is personally commuting their sentences, but that they need to make better decisions for their lives moving forward.
The President will appear on White House Live tomorrow to further discuss his ideas on criminal justice system reform.
Here is the announcement:
Featured Image via Facebook (Screen Capture)