20 people serving life sentences for drugs will soon be set free

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President Obama commuted the sentences of 42 prisoners serving time for drug-related offenses, the White House announced on Friday.

About half of the offenders were serving life sentences. The White House said that those granted clemency were sentenced under “outdated and unduly harsh” sentencing laws and said the prison time would have have shorter if they had been sentenced under the current (less harsh) guidelines.

The offenders will likely be set free in October.

Obama has now commuted the sentences of 348 people while in office, which the White House says is more than the previous seven presidents combined. In the past year alone, Obama has commuted the sentences of 61 drug offenders in March and he granted clemency to another 58 offenders in May.


Obama’s push for clemency is in line with his calls for lighter sentencing for nonviolent offenders, and more commutations are likely in his final year in office. Especially since the Justice Department has 9,000 applications for clemency pending.

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