WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Monday commuted sentences of 46 non-violent offenders, including two men from Chicago in prison convicted of drug offenses.
Obama took the action in a week where he is focusing on the criminal justice system. The president wrote a personal letter to all 46 convicts, urging them to use their second chance to turn their lives around and “make the most of this opportunity.”
A person who receives a commutation gets a break in having a sentence cut short. However, the conviction still stays on the record.
The Chicago men whose sentences were commuted are, according to the White House:
*Joseph Burgos, who was convicted of distributing cocaine. He was sentenced in 1993 to360 months’ imprisonment; eight years’ supervised release and a $200,000 fine (Sept. 2, 1993)
Under the commutation grant, Burgos’ prison sentence expires on November 10, 2015.
Romain Dukes, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, “crack”; distribution of cocaine base, and “crack.”
Dukes was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997 and on top of that,10 years’ supervised release.
Under the clemency, Dukes leaves prison on November 10, 2015.
With a focus on criminal justice this week, On Tuesday, Obama will keynote the NAACP’s 106th national convention in Philadelphia, where he will, according to the White House, “outline the unfairness in much of our criminal justice system, highlight bipartisan ideas for reform, and lay out his own ideas to make our justice system fairer, smarter, and more cost-effective while keeping the American people safe and secure.”
On Thursday when in Oklahoma, he will become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, theEl Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside of Oklahoma City.
“While there, he will meet with law enforcement officials and inmates and conduct an interview for a Vice documentary that will air in the fall about the realities of our criminal justice system,” the White House said.