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Obama Commutes 61 Drug Sentences, Bringing Total to 248--More Than Last 6 Presidents

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posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:51 AM
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Though I don't agree with much the current administration does, the commutation of non-violent and lengthy drug sentences make sense. Each case has been thoroughly vetted, and the administration feels those set free or reduced incarceration pose little threat to the public.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations. Obama's commutation shortens their sentences, with most of the inmates set to be released on July 28. Obama, in a letter to the inmates receiving commutations, said the presidential power to grand commutations and pardons "embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws."

The article highlights the number of pardons, and goes on to state more commutations will be granted towards the end of Obama's term. The graph below illustrates the numbers of pardons back to President Ford:


BHO seeks an overhaul of our criminal justice system, focusing on " decades of overly punitive sentencing policies." Though support for this overhaul at one time had bi-partisan support, the topic has faded from prominence as more urgent matters took it's place.

Obama has long called for getting rid of strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and sky-high incarceration rates. With Obama's support, the Justice Department in recent years has directed prosecutors to rein in the use of harsh mandatory minimums. The Obama administration has also expanded criteria for inmates applying for clemency, targeting nonviolent offenders who have behaved well in prison and would have received shorter sentences if convicted of the same crime a few years later. Civil liberties groups hailed that move but have since raised concerns that too few are actually receiving clemency under the policy.
abcnews.go.com...

I personally believe many draconian and unjust sentencing structures should be done away with, replaced with a system focused on rehabilitation and founded on a case-by-case basis for sentences to be imposed.




posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:52 AM
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61 is such a low number though... Seems like a drop in the bucket. Oh well. At least it is a step in the right direction.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

I agree with you here as well. The drug war has destroyed a lot of lives, and continues to.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:03 PM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
61 is such a low number though... Seems like a drop in the bucket. Oh well. At least it is a step in the right direction.
Kept in context, BHO has done more than the last 6 combined. Most Presidents save pardons till shortly before leaving office, some being questionable. 61 seems like a high number for one day, IMO.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:16 PM
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originally posted by: BlueJacket
a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

I agree with you here as well. The drug war has destroyed a lot of lives, and continues to.


What about the lives of the people these drug dealers destroyed?

I have mixed feelings about this. I have family members doing time for drug offenses. At the same time, a lot of these people are not actually "non-violent". They weren't caught in the act of being violent. Big difference.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:20 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

Hard to defend that sentiment when a huge proportion of intent to sell convictions are marijuana related.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:21 PM
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originally posted by: BigScaryStrawman
a reply to: Edumakated

Hard to defend that sentiment when a huge proportion of intent to sell convictions are marijuana related.


Source?



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:37 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated

originally posted by: BlueJacket
a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

I agree with you here as well. The drug war has destroyed a lot of lives, and continues to.


What about the lives of the people these drug dealers destroyed?

I have mixed feelings about this. I have family members doing time for drug offenses. At the same time, a lot of these people are not actually "non-violent". They weren't caught in the act of being violent. Big difference.


The main problem I have is with mandatory sentencing structures based on a drug that was associated with race, as crack coc aine. It is evident the punitive sentences for crack, when compared to powder form, where based on longer stretches.

I also have problems with sentences based upon arbitrary weights--grams can be the difference in years. If the accused is proven to have no intent on distributing, but bound by these assigned weight-based sentences, is justice really served?



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:39 PM
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a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

Just wondering if one of the names was "H. Clinton".






posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:39 PM
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I hope someone keeps track of each of them and then updates us when/if they get arrested again for something else. I seriously doubt they are all just innocent people who smoked a little weed.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 12:54 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated
What about the lives of the people these drug dealers destroyed?


I thought conservatives are all-out for personal responsibility.

Besides, the actual number of inmates that Obama has commuted is 248, as per your own link.


The latest tranche of commutations brings to 248 the total number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted — more than the past six presidents combined, the White House said.


...61 was just in one day, it's been considerably more than that. & Clinton's total number was 61
edit on 30-3-2016 by okrian because: (no reason given)

edit on 30-3-2016 by okrian because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 01:04 PM
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originally posted by: Boscowashisnamo

originally posted by: Krazysh0t
61 is such a low number though... Seems like a drop in the bucket. Oh well. At least it is a step in the right direction.
Kept in context, BHO has done more than the last 6 combined. Most Presidents save pardons till shortly before leaving office, some being questionable. 61 seems like a high number for one day, IMO.


I wasn't talking about in comparison to the number of pardons a President traditionally gives, I was talking about in comparison to the total number of people sitting in prison for minor, non-violent drug offenses.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 01:05 PM
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Obama is setting up for future police failures.

He wants a Federal "Army" to police the big cities.




posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 01:47 PM
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Good move.

BUT....instead of spending his 8 years in the White House doing things like forcing everyone to buy health insurance, why didn't he do something about the asinine sentencing guidelines and 3 strikes rules that imprison so many people?

Seems like he has missed a good opportunity to make good on campaign promises.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 01:51 PM
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originally posted by: Boscowashisnamo
BHO has done more than the last 6 combined.


I first thought you were talking about Butane Honey Oil. Lol.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 01:54 PM
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Monday, President Obama proclaimed that drug use and crime are becoming epidemic in parts of the country that have never experienced these scourges before. Maybe he's employing some twisted logic, and releasing prisoners in the hope of bringing down crime and drug use.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 02:01 PM
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a reply to: carewemust

He is right. And there are many reasons, some tied directly to Uncle Sam.

For instance, the reclassing of formerly C-III pain killers to C-II has created a real issue. Heroin, unheard of 5 years ago here, has begun showing its head. Along with break ins at local pharmacies that didn't use to happen.

On anything outside of obvious crime (murder, rape, theft, etc...the things we all KNOW are wrong), any time the government applies pressure, the populace pushes back harder (we are larger, afterall). And that pushback spills out in very ugly ways. We saw it with Prohibition.

To be honest, nd this is off topic soap box...it is utterly preposterous that a person could pay the income taxes each pay check via deductions, and still end up in jail or fined for simply not filling out income tax return documents.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 02:29 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated

What about the lives of the people these drug dealers destroyed?



Whose lives do drug dealers destroy? The users? (drug dealers don't force people to do drugs) The families of the users? (drug dealers don't force people to do drugs they can't handle or afford, destroying their families to feed their addictions.)

It seems to me they're not responsible for destroying any lives. It's like blaming guns (rather than the shooter) for shooting deaths, but worse. It is more like blaming the store that sells bullets which are ultimately used improperly by a person who chooses to do so.



originally posted by: Edumakated

I have mixed feelings about this. I have family members doing time for drug offenses. At the same time, a lot of these people are not actually "non-violent". They weren't caught in the act of being violent. Big difference.


A lot of people who have never been in prison are not actually "non-violent" as well. What's your point?
edit on 3/30/2016 by dogstar23 because: typo



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 02:30 PM
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The part that made me laugh is that on the same day Obama does this, MSN also runs an article about listing drug overdose deaths as homicides which implies the dealer is a murderer.



posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 02:31 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

This is why the federal drug scheduling program is one of the dumbest things ever invented. Or smartest depending on how you look at it.



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