“I believe these folks deserve a second chance,” President Obama said in a recent White House video concerning 46 prisoners all serving at least 20 years. Some of them were even given life sentences.
“I believe that, at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance,”
He mentioned issues with the justice system and the fact that under today’s laws, these prisoners would have already served their sentences.
The total number of sentences commuted during Obama’s term is 89. That’s a lot more than the presidents before him. Former President Bush commuted 11;and Former President Clinton–61.
Mr. Obama also wrote a letter to Jerry Allen Bailey, one of the people whose sentences he is commuting. Bailey was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment and 10 years’ supervised release in April 1996 for conspiracy to violate narcotics laws.
“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” the president wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices.”
At the end of the letter, he added, “I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong, and change your life for the better.”
I, for one, would love to see these prisoners live up to this expectation.
He is also working with other politicians in a number of reforms. This he hopes will improve the justice system.