[JURIST] US President Obama on Friday commuted [press release] 95 prison sentences of individuals who have been jailed for non-violent offenses. The act of clemency comes as result of the recent sentencing reform for drug and non-violent offenses. In his letter to the released men and women, President Obama stated, “I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong, and change your life for the better.” The Obama administration believes that clemency alone is not the answer in curing current issues with the criminal justice system and is working to take more steps to reform rehabilitative measures in place for non-violent offenders.
Last October, President Obama made the case [JURIST report] for overhauling the nation’s sentencing laws on in front of top law enforcement officials at the 122nd Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police [official website] Conference and Exposition. In July Obama spoke at the NAACP Annual Convention and urged [JURIST report] Congress to reform the criminal justice system by enacting legislation that would enforce criminal laws fairly and reduce sentencing disparities. Earlier that week Obama commuted the sentences [JURIST report] of 46 drug offenders in what he said was part of an effort by his administration to remedy the unfairness of the criminal justice system. In 2014 the US Department of Justice announced support for reducing the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders in federal prisons after the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST reports] in Burrage v. US to relax sentencing guidelines on drug dealers earlier that year.