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President Obama commutes sentences for 111 more inmates

Florida residents might be interested to learn that President Obama commuted the sentences of another 111 inmates who are in federal prison for nonviolent drug offenses. To date, Obama has commuted the sentences of 673 federal inmates, a higher number than the total who were commuted by the last 10 presidents combined.

Obama's commutations come as he continues to ask that lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug offenders be shortened. The U.S. has sentences that are much longer and harsher than other developed countries, leading it to have some of the highest incarceration rates in the country.

Pending legislation in Congress addressing criminal justice reform has stalled. In 1980, there were 25,000 people in prison. Today, the prison population is more than 200,000 people. Some Republicans are opposed to reforming sentencing in the criminal justice system. They argue that doing so would lead to more crime. The Clemency Project 2014, an organization formed in support of Obama's policies, has sent 1,600 applications for clemency to the federal government. To be eligible for the organization's help, inmates must have served 10 years of their sentences, must be a nonviolent offender and must not have any connections to gangs or cartels.

Drug charges can lead to very severe consequences in the event of conviction. People who are facing such charges might want to seek help from a criminal defense attorney who has experience with defending against drug crimes. An attorney might be able to identify constitutional problems with the manner in which the stop and search were conducted, how the evidence was gathered or how the testing was performed.

Source: PBS, "111 will be freed under Obama's latest commutation of nonviolent drug offenders," Kevin Freking, Sept. 9, 2016.

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