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Obama Frees 98 More Drug Offenders; 872 Released So Far

The White House says President Obama is releasing 98 more drug offenders, commuting their prison sentences and scheduling them for release.

The offenders were sentenced to prison for attempts to distribute and to possess cocaine, meth, heroin, PCP, and other drugs. Nineteen of the 98 individuals also had gun-related criminal charges.

“Today, 98 recipients will hear the news that the President has found them deserving of a second chance,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement. “For the 42 individuals originally sentenced to life imprisonment, today’s news will carry special weight when they learn that they will be able to return to their families and communities.”

Obama has repeatedly commuted the sentences of non-violent drug offenders, in part to signal his commitment to reform sentencing laws for drug distribution crimes.

The president has now commuted 872 prison sentences, more than the past 11 presidents combined. He is expected to continue commuting sentences until he leaves office in January.

In July 2015, Obama visited a prison to draw attention to criminal justice reform, noting that he could have ended up in prison for some of the mistakes of his youth.

“That’s what strikes me, there but for the grace of God,” he said. “And that is something that we all have to think about.”

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