When we first reported about President Obama’s acts of clemency, many appropriately responded that Obama’s actions were far too limited to be deserving of much praise.
But since that first act, President Obama has continued to commute the sentences of inmates all over the country, including an additional 42 non-violent drug offenders on Friday. 20 of those inmates were facing a life in prison, meaning that this act by the president will irreversibly alter the future of these 20 individuals.
This newest grant from the president brings the total number of inmates pardoned to 348, more than the previous 7 presidents combined.
Many believe that President Obama has not done nearly enough to decriminalize certain low-impact drugs like Marijuana, but his late-term contribution of reducing non-violent drug offenders’ sentences is a step in the right direction.
There is certainly more room for improvement and based on his behavior this year so far, we can expect to see the president granting freedom to many more before his term is up.
Whoever succeeds the President must be aggressive in portraying drug use as a health crisis rather than a crime issue. Steps must be taken to decriminalize marijuana and change the way that we prosecute non-violent, victimless crimes like possession of marijuana.