President Obama commuted the sentences of 61 prisoners on Wednesday in an effort to ease the harsh sentencing given to those locked up from the government’s war on drugs.
Several of the 61 inmates were serving life sentences for their roles in either distributing or possessing cocaine or heroin. President Obama has granted clemency to 248 federal inmates—more than the last six presidents combined, according to the White House.
Hours after announcing the commutations, the president dropped in on a meeting of former prisoners who were commuted under his term and those of President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton.
President Obama took the seven former prisoners to lunch in Washington, D.C., in an effort to hear directly from them about how their lives have been after leaving prison and entering back into mainstream society. All seven were in prison because of possession or distribution of illegal drugs.