WASHINGTON, D.C. –
President Barack Obama says commuting the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders was “just the beginning” in the massive overhaul he is making in the US criminal justice system.
“After successfully fixing the US healthcare system, I thought ‘what else can I do to make the most impact in my term?’” Obama, in a letter to the inmates receiving commutations, said the presidential power to grand commutations and pardons “embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”
Obama will be releasing non-violent drug offenders only, and there will be oversight so that only those deserving of a second chance, who pinky promise that they won’t do it again, will be released. Obama denies that being a proud, half-black man has anything to do with his interest in fixing the criminal justice system.
“Just because I’m half-African American, and most of the criminals in prison on drug charges are also black, doesn’t mean that I’m being lenient,” said Obama. “I mean, let’s be clear, most of the men in prison are black no matter what their crime is, but I’m not letting out the rapists and the murderers.”