White House aides are reporting President Barrack Obama is set to commute the sentences of dozens of nonviolent federal drug offenders in the coming weeks. This would be an impactful event as there is a preponderance of nonviolent offenders to violent offenders caught up in the penal system.

The total number of commutations for Obama’s presidency could surpass 80 ( more than any other U.S.President), but more than 30,000 federal inmates have come forward in response to his administration’s call for clemency applications. The cumbersome reviewing tasks has only advanced a small fraction of the 30,000 applications, but President Obama will work diligently to fulfill his outlook. Hopefully, Obama can formulate a team to assist in launching an expeditious clemency process.


The criteria inmates must meet in order to be considered for commutations include: having been incarcerated longer than 10 years; demonstrating good behavior while in prison; and having received a sentence that is longer than would be granted under current sentencing laws.

Obama Set To Commute Dozens Of Nonviolent Drug Sentences

In 2014, The Justice Department began encouraging low-level drug offenders to seek clemency and during that year, the United States Sentencing Commission released new rules making nearly 50,000 federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses eligible for early release starting in November 2015.

The move is a microcosm of the grand scale effort by the president to correct wrongdoings of the past, when elected officials seeking to be tough on crime imprisoned mostly young African-American and Latino men for minor crimes.
Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel who recommends clemency petitions to Mr. Obama, told The New York Times, “It’s a time when conservatives and liberals and libertarians and lots of different people on the political spectrum have come together in order to focus attention on excessive sentences, the costs and the like, and the need to correct some of those excesses.”

There has been recent outcry by both Democrats and Republicans for a overhaul of the current criminal justice system, and lawmakers on both sides are collaborating to create legislation. The United States Sentencing Commission has revised guidelines for drug offenders and ,so far, have retroactively reduced sentences for more than 9,500 inmates, who are mostly African-American and Latinos.

The president has the power to grant “pardons for offenses against the United States” or to commute federal sentences, according to the Constitution. A pardon is an act of presidential forgiveness and wipes away any remaining legal liabilities from a conviction. A commutation reduces a sentence but does not eliminate a conviction or restore civil rights lost as a result of the conviction.

Obama Set To Commute Dozens Of Nonviolent Drug Sentences

The president and his crew will be quite meticulous as they review each case. They do not want a recurrence of the Willie Horton story of 1988. While being released from confinement on a prison rehabilitation program, Mr. Horton committed several heinous crimes that sent him back to prison. Therefore, the White House will keep this case in mind, as they delve through the cases for the nonviolent offenders.

Here’s the former Attorney General, Eric Holder, speaking on the justice system, fairness and announces expansion.