Today President Obama announced that 46 non-violent drug offenders will have their sentences commuted and be released this year. The announcement comes ahead of President Obama’s speech on sentencing reform later this week from a prison in Oklahoma.
The vast majority of the offenders were convicted of cocaine offenses, along with a handful of marijuana cases and some general “controlled substance” violations. The lowest initial sentence among the 46 was 15 years, while several received life sentences. In issuing the commutations the White House noted that, due to recent sentencing reforms, these sentences are out of step with the sentences the offenders would receive for the same violations today:
These unduly harsh sentences are one of the reasons the President is committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy unfairness in our criminal justice system. Today, he is continuing this effort by granting clemency to 46 men and women, nearly all of whom would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today.
The list of recipients, along with their offenses, can be found here.