Introducing The Next Generation Of Leaders And Thinkers

As His Last Presidential Act, Obama Cuts Short 300+ Prison Sentences

Before hell officially freezes over at noon on January 20, our guardian angel has done one more good deed. Barack Obama spent most of his final days as president commuting the sentences of 330 inmates convicted of drug-related crimes.

This new batch brings President Obama’s total number of commutations up to 1,715 in his eight years, more than the past 13 presidents combined and the most of any U.S. President. Of the 1,700+, 568 were inmates who were sentenced to life in prison and have now been set free.

He tweets from the official POTUS Twitter account which will be taken over by Trump tomorrow:

Proud to make this one of my final actions as President. America is a nation of second chances

This comes days after the announcement that he had commuted most of the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman and Army intelligence analyst who exposed American diplomatic and military strategies and aided in the rise of WikiLeaks. Manning, who has served almost seven years in a men’s (!!!) prison, will now be released on May 17 of this year instead of in 2045.

The commutations serve as Obama’s last attempt to right the wrongs of the Prison-Industrial Complex, the government’s very lazy solution to population and crime control, which has targeted minorities and low-income communities for decades. The President has numerously tried to enlist the help of Congress to find a better, more permanent fix to the criminal justice problem, arguing that many are excessively punished for minor drug offenses, but legislators didn’t budge.

According to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Obama’s administration reviewed over 16,000 applications that came in at the end-of-August deadline and the President personally reviewed all of the cases that had been commuted. In order to qualify for commutation by Obama, inmates must be non-violent offenders that have already served 10 years (with a few exceptions) and have been on good behavior. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, said that Obama was more inclined to grant clemensy to those who had turned their lives around in prison:

The ones who really struck home for the president… are the ones who got their GED, worked… [and] took courses in getting over drug abuse issues

Although this is a short term solution, there is still hope that Congress and the next president will work toward proper prison reform and not undo all that Obama has done.

Related Posts