On Wednesday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 214 nonviolent inmates, the largest number of commutations in a single day since 1900. 67 of the chosen prisoners were serving life sentences.
Obama has issued 562 commutations during his seven-and-a-half years in office. This is the fourth batch of commutations in 2016 alone, suggesting that the president will continue to lower the sentences for more prisoners by the end of his tenure.
Many people will use words today like leniency and mercy. But what really happened is that a group of fellow citizens finally got the punishment they deserved. Not less, but, at long last, not more.
Criminal justice reform is a fight that goes beyond party. Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for example, often team up in the Senate to co-sponsor and push legislation in favor of constitutional justice.
Obama’s actions fulfills his administration’s promise to concern themselves with criminal justice reform as well as the effects of the drug war. The drug war has received serious criticism from many groups, including constitutional activists as well as Republicans, Democrats and those in between.
While its questionable roots have already caused Americans to wonder about its place in domestic policy, reforms in favor of civil liberties are shown to influence other significant political concerns, both foreign and domestic.
According to a 2014 poll, nearly eight out of 10 Americans support getting rid of mandatory minimum sentencing, returning power back to the judges.
(H/T The Hill)