As we talked about in a previous post, the U.S. Sentencing Commission recently approved a decision to lower the recommended sentences for both those facing drug charges and those who are already serving time. This decision was made in part to reduce the overcrowding in prisons in Missouri and the rest of the country.
Now there appears to be more good news for those who are serving time in prison for drug crimes. The Obama administration announced recently that those who are currently serving time for non-violent federal crimes like drug crimes will be considered for clemency. This is in response to growing outcry over the severity of punishments and mandatory minimums that resulted from the war on drugs in the 70s and 80s.
One man that may benefit from the proposed clemency offer has been in prison for 17 ½ years. The man was sentenced to life behind bars for drug trafficking, a sentence his trial judge now says was too harsh for the crime committed. The judge had little choice but to give him that sentence though because of mandatory sentencing guidelines at the time, guidelines which have since changed.
The man acknowledges that he made some bad decisions in his youth, but feels like he has learned from his mistakes and doesn’t deserve to die in prison. With the help of his lawyer, the man has submitted a recommendation from the pardon attorney’s office to the White House along with a plan for his life after prison. The man plans to live with his sister and has two written commitments from companies who say they would consider hiring him after his release.
Source: ABC 6, “Given Life Term, Drug Offender Hopes for Clemency,” July 2014