Politics

Obama Commutes Sentences Of 8 Crack Convicts

Obama issued a statement explaining that if these people had been sentenced under current drug laws, they'd already be out of prison.

Obama Commutes Sentences Of 8 Crack Convicts
Flickr / The White House
SMS

President Obama is commuting the sentences of eight people convicted on crack cocaine charges.

CBS reports six of those inmates were serving life sentences. All eight have been in prison for at least 15 years.

Obama issued a statement explaining that if these people had been sentenced under current drug laws, they'd already be out of prison. (Via Flickr / The White House)

According to The New York Times, the move "opened a major new front in the administration's efforts to curb soaring taxpayer spending on prisons and to help correct what it has portrayed as inequality in the justice system."

The Los Angeles Times notes: "Obama has been more reluctant than recent predecessors to use his constitutional right to grant clemency. He previously had commuted only one sentence in his five years in office and has mostly confined himself to pardoning people who have already served their sentences."

There is some controversy surrounding not just the decision but one of the inmates who had his sentence commuted — namely, 39-year-old Reynolds Allen Wintersmith, who happens to be the cousin of Massachusetts governor and Obama's political ally, Deval Patrick.

"Gov. Patrick's office says the governor has no memory of ever meeting this man and that the governor played no role in getting that sentence reduced." (Via WHDH)