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President Commutes Drug Sentences

Obama Cuts Sentences for Louisville Drug Offenders

Like most outgoing Presidents, President Obama has been busy in his last year commuting sentences of certain federal inmates.  Particularly, he has focused on harsh drug sentences, which may land an offender in prison for life for possessing/distribuing relatively small amounts of drugs.  On Wedensday, Obama commuted the sentences of three people that were sentenced to long prison terms in Louisville.  

Extremely long, mandatory prison sentences for drug offenses, while perhaps appropriate in some circumstances, have not been an effective tool in the so-called "war on drugs."  I spent my first year of law practice defending mostly federal drug offenders in London, KY.  Most of my clients were in need of help because they were suffering from addiction.  They were not hardened criminals in need of long-term incarceration.  But the federal sentencing rules for drug offenders did not permit Judges to reduce prison sentences to appropriate terms. 

I am glad to see that the overall approach to drug offenders/addicts is changing, as reflected in President Obama's recent actions.  We all want to remove drug abuse and its effects from our communities, but sometimes we must think "outside of the box" in order to tackle big societal problems.  

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