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Politics & Government

Obama commutes sentences of 111 federal inmates, 3 from Michigan

President Obama greets inmates during a visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., July 16, 2015.
Pete Souza
/
White House
President Obama greets inmates during a visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., July 16, 2015.

President Obama is using the power of his office to reduce the sentences of people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Today his office announced that he cut short the sentences of 111 federal inmates.

The commutations announced today included three identified as being from Michigan:

  • Charles Lee Brandon – Bay City, MI
  • Emmanuel Obi Maduka – Detroit, MI
  • John Western Thomas – Albion, MI

Obama has called for phasing out strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment, and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries.
The 111 commutations announced today were in addition to 214 commutations announced earlier this month.

The White House is touting the record-setting pace of these early releases. More on the announcement from the White House:

… the president has commuted the sentences of 325 people in the month of August alone, which is the greatest number of commutations ever granted by a president in a single month. The 325 commutations the president has granted in just one month is more than any president granted in a single year for nearly a century.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston says the commutations underscore the president's commitment to using his clemency authority to give deserving individuals a second chance.

Estimated number of persons under correctional supervision in the United States, 1980-2014.
Credit Bureau of Justice Statistics
Estimated number of persons under correctional supervision in the United States, 1980-2014.

Eggleston says Obama has granted a total of 673 commutations, more than the previous 10 presidents combined. More than a third of the recipients were serving life sentences.

Eggleston says he expects Obama to continue granting commutations through the end of his administration, but only legislation can ensure the federal sentencing system operates more fairly.