Nonviolent drug offenders often face harsh penalties in the United States even though they don’t pose serious risks to the community. Some drug offenders could have the opportunity to have their sentences reviewed and even receive clemency after President Obama announced a plan to consider more nonviolent drug offenders for clemency during the remainder of his term in office.
What led to the announcement of granting clemency to nonviolent drug offenders? The White House said the president thinks all offenders should be treated equally and have their case under review if they are considered to be a nonviolent drug offender. The White House has not stated how many offenders could possibly receive clemency. However, a news report by Yahoo News said that hundreds or thousands of offenders could receive a pardon during the next few years under the new plan.
The Justice Department will be issuing new details and criteria for how clemency applications will be reviewed. Attorney General Eric Holder said the announcement will likely lead to more clemency applications in the future since many nonviolent drug offenders receive harsh prison sentences in many states.
Sentencing reforms for drug offenders have been debated for many years. In California, drug offenders can face serious penalties for being convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Advocates for sentencing reforms said the announcement is a step in the right direction and will help nonviolent offenders stay out of prison or reduce the amount of time they spend in prison in the future.
Nonviolent drug offenders in California should be aware of this announcement and how it could impact their time in prison. Applying for clemency may seem like a daunting task but it could help you reunite with your family and re-enter society much faster than serving your prison sentence. Offenders convicted of nonviolent drug crimes in California should contact an attorney to discuss the clemency process and what options may be available to them for reducing their prison sentence.
Source: CBS News, “Obama to consider more clemency requests from nonviolent drug offenders,” Stephanie Condon, April 21, 2014