President Barack Obama pardoned the sentences of 46 prisoners Monday, including those with drug trafficking and weapons charges.
Most of the offenses were drug-related, but a few were in for weapons charges. Fourteen were sentenced to life in prison.
“These men and women were not hard criminals,” Obama said in a video announcing the commutations. “Their punishment did not fit the crime.”
So far Obama has commuted nearly 90 prisoners.
Obama wrote a letter to each of the inmates. The White House released Obama’s letter to Jerry Bailey, one of the inmates commuted. He was found guilty of conspiracy to violate narcotics laws (crack) in North Carolina and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” the letter states. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change.”
The president gets the power to commute sentences from Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution.
“The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”
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