Putting good sense to use, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners serving long sentences on drug charges, reasoning that the justice system had levied harsher sentences for crack cocaine than it did for its powdered form. In addition, Obama also pardoned additional convicts for assorted crimes.
Time adds that Obama said he would apply new sentencing guidelines to the eight convicts, six of whom will be released by Apr. 17. The president said that under current law, "many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to society."
President Obama provided further rationalization in a statement:
Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness. But it must not be the last. In the new year, lawmakers should act on the kinds of bipartisan sentencing reform measures already working their way through Congress. Together, we must ensure that our taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, and that our justice system keeps its basic promise of equal treatment for all.
Over the summer, Attorney General Eric Holder announced new sentencing guidelines that were already applied to pending cases. This new decision is the first to apply to current inmates.