Obama commutes sentences of 22 drug offenders

Obama commutes sentences of 22 drug offenders

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday reduced the jail terms of 22 drug offenders, part of a drive to address fairness in sentencing.

The inmates, many sentenced to decades or life imprisonment for cocaine-related offences, will be freed on July 28.

"I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around," Obama wrote in letters to the 22 individuals.

"I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong." The White House said many of those convicted had been sent to prison using "an outdated sentencing regime." "They served years - in some cases more than a decade - longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime," said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston.

The White House said it wanted to encourage non-violent offenders who have a clean prison record and were sentenced under out-of-date laws to come forward.

Obama has now granted 43 commutations compared to President George W. Bush's 11.

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