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More prisoners scheduled for release under commuted sentences

If you've been paying attention to the news like we have then you have likely heard about the president's most recent move to give non-violent criminals a second chance at life. He did this by granting commuted sentences to 22 individuals who were serving a considerable amount of time for non-violent drug crimes. The commuted sentences now reflect the current sentencing laws for a plethora of crimes that once had harsher punishments under the "outdated sentencing regime," the White House said.

As many of our Colorado Springs readers may remember, a federal panel voted on recommendations last year that would give judges the authority to "retroactively reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders," as was explained in a July 18 piece for the Wall Street Journal. This came at a time when many politicians had begun questioning the exceedingly long sentences given to people who had committed nonviolent crimes such as manufacturing marijuana or possession of crack cocaine.

A lot of people across the nation have expressed concerns about whether commuting prison sentences for drug offenders is a good idea or not. Some even question whether a person is able to avoid the temptation of criminal activities down the road. It's exactly these concerns though that the president addressed in his letter to the 22 individuals who are scheduled for release in late July. In the president's letter, he pointed out that a commuted sentence is a second chance at life and expressed the importance of making good choices in order to prove that rehabilitation is possible.

Although the Department of Justice has done some work to reduce the sentencing requirements for nonviolent drug crimes, it's important to point out that current sentencing requirements are still incredibly serious and can still result in months or even years in prison depending on the offense. Because your freedom is at stake, obtaining a skilled criminal defense lawyer is highly encouraged for anyone facing drug charges.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Obama Commutes 22 Drug-Offense Sentences," Lorraine Bailey, April 1, 2015

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