Skip to main content
News

Obama grants clemency to 46 individuals serving time for non-violent drug offenses

July 13, 2015
Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 individuals serving time for drug offenses, doubling the number of clemencies he has granted as part of his administration’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 individuals serving time for drug offenses, doubling the number of clemencies he has granted as part of his administration’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

“Decades after the tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and 1990s, the Obama administration is hoping to combine the president’s commutation powers with Justice Department reforms and support from sympathetic Republicans in Congress to change sentencing policies that have had a disproportionate effect on African Americans and Latinos,” reports the Los Angeles Times

Advocacy groups welcomed the announcement, but said the 46 acts of mercy were ‘a drop in the bucket’ compared with what they hoped Obama would do before he left office.

Jeremy Haile of The Sentencing Project in Washington said there were 7,000 to 8,000 prisoners still doing time for convictions involving crack cocaine who would not be in jail today under the 2010 reform of crack cocaine laws.

Prior to the passage of the federal Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, individuals convicted of possessing crack were penalized 100 times more harshly than those convicted of possessing powder cocaine. Because of trends in drug use, this penalty contributed to dramatic disparities in the incarceration of African Americans when compared to their white counterparts.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

 
Related Posts
publications
June 14, 2016

The Color of Justice 2016 Report

African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states. This report documents the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
publications
October 07, 2021

Sign-on Letter: Pass the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021

Justice organizations urge the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia to pass Bill 4-0338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 as a necessary, common sense approach to juvenile justice reform that will create better outcomes for youth and communities, will treat children as children, and will make significant steps forward in advancing racial equity.