There are many things that are wrong with the criminal justice system in America. One of the most important of these is the number of inmates who have been sentenced to jail for extended periods of time, even though the crime they committed was a nonviolent one. People who have been convicted of a federal drug crime can find themselves facing decades behind bars, with little or no possibility of parole.
The source of this problem has been the “tough on crime” stance that politicians of years past have taken, which has resulted in harsher and harsher sentences for even the smallest legal infraction.
Fortunately, recent years have shown an increased willingness to change how we think of criminal offenders and give them the second chance that non-violent inmates deserve. Unfortunately, many in the federal government have tried preventing these worthwhile changes from happening. However, President Obama has recently started to use his presidential pardon power to commute the excessive sentences of many people who have been convicted of nonviolent offenses, particularly drug offenses. This year, President Obama has used his pardoning power a record number of times.
President Obama Sets Records for Pardoning Nonviolent Criminals
The power to commute the sentence of a convicted criminal is guaranteed to the president in the Constitution, in Article II, Section 2. While the practice has been used only sparingly in the past, President Obama has resorted to it more and more over the course of his eight years in the White House, often in an attempt to end run around Congress to implement the changes he wants to the criminal justice system.
The latest group of sentences that President Obama commuted was announced on October 6, 2016. Nearly all of the more than 100 inmates were facing lengthy jail times for nonviolent drug offenses. The most recent group of commuted sentences brings Obama’s total number of pardons up to 774, which is higher than the number of pardons issued by the previous 11 presidents, combined.
Pardoning Inmates Does Not Fix the Problem
While pardoning nonviolent offenders is a life-altering change to the unfortunate inmates serving a jail sentence that far outweighs the seriousness of their crime, it does not fix the underlying problem. Until mandatory minimums are reconsidered, and draconian drug laws are changed so low-level offenses do not lead to decades behind bars, we will be in the same position as before President Obama resurrected his presidential pardoning powers and took things into his own hands.
The Federal Criminal Law Center Fights for You
The criminal defense attorneys at the Federal Criminal Law Center fight for your rights and interests, both in and out of court. If you have been charged with a federal crime, including a federal drug crime, then you need the best legal representation that you can get because a conviction for these draconian laws can change your life forever. Contact our law office online to tap into our knowledge and skills and help protect your freedom in the face of these serious allegations.