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President Obama to Commute More Drug Sentences

Wall Street Journal (by Andrew Grossman)—The Obama administration is moving toward commuting sentences for more nonviolent drug offenders serving long prison terms, in an effort to reduce racial disparities in criminal sentencing and tame the growing federal prison budget.

The decision opens the door for thousands of offenders to apply to get out of jail early, though it isn’t clear how many of those requests would be granted.

A top Justice Department official said Thursday that the administration was looking for inmates in situations similar to the eight people who were granted clemency by President Barack Obama in December. All had been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for charges related to crack cocaine.

In a speech to criminal lawyers in New York, Deputy Attorney General James Cole called the commutations of those sentences “only a first step,” according to his prepared remarks. Read the full story at wsj.com

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