The White House on Monday announced the commutation of dozens of prison sentences for people convicted of nonviolent federal drug crimes, part of President Barack Obama’s effort to address disparities in the criminal justice system.
Obama announced he had granted clemency to 46 men and women in a video posted to the White House website. Almost all of those who were freed by the president would have already completed their sentences if they had been convicted under current laws, Neil Eggleston, counsel to the president, said in a White House blog post.
Obama has said he wants to use commutations to help address a prison system that is too costly and disproportionately locks up people of color.
“Over the past few years, a lot of people have become aware of the inequities in the criminal justice system – the fact that we spend over $80 billion a year incarcerating people who oftentimes have only been engaged in nonviolent drug offenses,” Obama said in the video.