President Barack Obama has made headlines during his time in office for working to release drug offenders before their sentences are up. His focus has mostly been on those who were arrested for non-violent crimes -- such as selling a small amount of marijuana. Overall, more than 1,000 people who were in the federal prison system have seen their sentences commuted by the president.
However, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen thinks that even more needs to be done as soon as possible. He's asking the president to work hard to commute more sentences before his second term ends.
Cohen, like President Obama, is with the Democratic party. His reasoning is, in part, that Republican President-elect Donald Trump is not going to take the same stand as President Obama, and he won't put a priority on commuting these non-violent drug offenders. President Obama has only a short time left in office, so he'd have to act quickly to make changes before he steps down.
Many times, the drug sentences that are commuted are for those who think they got unfair sentences in court. The congressman said he didn't think that they should have been behind bars at all, noting that they should instead have a second chance in society and time to spend with their families. He also noted that keeping them in prison cost taxpayers about $30,000 per year, a steep price to pay.
If you have been accused of a non-violent drug crime and are facing charges, it's important to consider how differently two presidents may view these crimes and how that can impact your situation. Be sure you know what legal defense options you have when you go to court.
Source: LocalMemphis.com, "Local Congressman Pushes For President To Commute More Drug Sentences," Kelli Cook, Nov. 30, 2016