From the Miami Herald:
President Barack Obama on Thursday issued 13 pardons and commuted the sentences of eight individuals.
The commuted sentences involved men and women serving long terms on drug charges, including several sentenced to life without parole.
“Each of them has served more than 15 years in prison,” Obama noted. “In several cases, the sentencing judges expressed frustration that the law at the time did not allow them to issue punishments that more appropriately fit the crime” …
Another prisoner whose sentence Obama commuted, Clarence Aaron of Mobile, Ala., was sentenced to life without parole in 1993 following his conviction on cocaine charges. Aaron has been a “model prisoner (who) has taken courses in religious studies, economics, Spanish, photography and behavioral development,” according to Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Obama’s actions here are welcome news to the prisoners and their families, but, from a big picture perspective, the president’s actions are stingy and long overdue. For additional background, go here and here. The Pardon Power blog has more details.
Flashback: I call for the Bush administration (2007!) to pardon Clarence Aaron.