Obama makes mass commutation of drug offenders

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Obama makes mass commutation of drug offenders

67 of those given clemency on Wednesday were serving life sentences for nonviolent drug crimes or firearms charges in relation to their "drug activities", reports the Associated Press.

Kent Edward Kiser, of Manassas, had been sentenced to 270 months' imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 2123 - the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act - more than nine months ago in October 2015, but it hasn't yet been brought up for a vote by the full Senate. His sentence was commuted on Wednesday to expire on December 1, 2016. Throughout Obama's presidency, he has commuted a total of 562 sentences, providing some relief for our country's strained prison system and second chances for those convicted of nonviolent crimes.

According to Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, President Obama's history of executive clemency reflects his presidential and personal beliefs.

The administration has also reviewed clemency requests from prisoners who have served at least 10 years of their sentences and have shown good behavior while behind bars.

Eggleston told the public that President Obama's commutations start with a written application process, and that the president carefully considers each applicant's merits and personal needs before making a decision regarding clemency. "For others, the President has commuted their sentences to a significantly reduced term so they are consistent with present-day sentencing policies".

Presidents tend to use their powers to commute sentences or issue pardons more frequently near the end of their terms of office. Of those, 197 people were serving life sentences. The longest: Richard L. Reser of Sedgwick, Kan., who was given a 40-year sentence for dealing methamphatamine and firearm possession.

Dennis' sentence has been commuted to expire on August 3, 2018. It was the most commutations in a single day in more than a century.

► Samuel Grooms of Clinton Township was serving a life sentence since 2005 for conspiracy with intent to distribute heroin; attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates previously said the offenders had been "granted a second chance to lead productive and law-abiding lives".

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