There are thousands of petitions from prisoners in federal prisons asking for early release. President Obama recently granted it to 61 of them—including many in Florida—who were sentenced to harsh penalties under federal drug sentencing guidelines.
Many of the convicted have already spent decades in prison and will be released in the next several months despite being sentenced, in many cases, to life imprisonment. Many of the charges were related to possession of cocaine—especially crack cocaine—with intent to distribute. Some also included tax evasion and other crimes but none were violent offenders. The president should be lauded for his efforts. However there is much work to be done if reforming the prison system is to be accomplished in any meaningful way. The government’s misguided war on drugs seems to continue nearly unabated leaving victims in its wake of gross injustice.