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News > World

U.S. President Obama Commutes Sentences of 46 Drug Offenders

  • U.S. President Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama | Photo: AFP

Published 13 July 2015

The president wrote a personal letter to every one of the commuted individuals.

United States President Barack Obama commuted 46 non-violent drug offenders Monday, after reviewing each of their cases.

"I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance," Obama said in a video posted online announcing his decision. 

The president wrote a personal letter to each one of the 46 individuals, highlighting the reasons behind his decision to reduce their sentence.

A commutation leaves the conviction in place, but reduces the punishment. All of the commuted on Monday will be released in November this year.

The 46 sentence reductions are the most presidential commutations in a single day since at least the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, according to the White House.

RELATED: Organization of American States Criticizes US Drugs Policy

President Obama's decision seems to be in line with his stance against criminalizing small-scale, non-violent drug related offenses. For example, he signed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 to cut penalties for crack cocaine offenses. 

Obama has issued 89 commutations during his presidency, most of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under now-outdated sentencing guidelines. 

In an unprecedented move, Obama will visit Thursday the El Reno federal prison, becoming the first-ever sitting president to visit a prison. There he will speak with inmates as well as officials.

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