There’s a new article from the New York Times about President Obama’s plan to commute the prison sentences of what may end up being a total of 80 or more non-violent drug offenders from prison in the totality of his presidency. President Obama’s planned use of his power to grant clemency to the small minority of minor criminals is only a drop in the bucket in light of the more than 30,000 prisoners who’ve applied for clemency.
Yet, President Obama’s powerful pen strokes to be used to set some prisoners free and give a shot at freedom to those who’ve been harshly convicted over the past 30 years might be the most sentences commuted by any president in about 50 years.
Reaction to the New York Times article is already flowing into Reddit, making it the top shared article in the “hot” section of the news subreddit. With a provocative title given to the shared piece on Reddit called “Obama to free scores of non-violent drug offenders,” it’s no wonder the article has received nearly 5,000 “upvotes” on Reddit and 1,234 comments and counting.
The article focuses on the commuted drug sentences President Obama has enacted in the past, including freeing 30 drug offenders in total from December 2014 to March 2015.
President Clinton commuted the sentences of 36 folks in one fell swoop during his final day in office as president — and President Obama’s could exceed that number if indeed the applications accepted hit 44, doubling the 22 commutations President Obama granted in March.
“Among those Mr. Obama granted clemency in March were eight prisoners serving life sentences for crimes like possession with intent to distribute cocaine, growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants or possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.”
The top Reddit commentators are reacting to life sentences given to certain drug offenders — and the fairness or unfairness of it all.
“LIFE sentence. A little excessive.”
“I’m sure the DOJ would impose death sentences for it if they could. How life imprisonment for a drug offense isn’t cruel and unusual punishment is beyond me.”
Some Redditors point to the profitability of keeping drug offenders in the penal system.
“They’d rather have them locked up to keep the prisons full. Lots of money depending on high incarceration rates.”
“This is correct. Privatized prisons and the prison guard union are huge proponents of the war on drugs.”
Others beg to differ, pointing to the dangers of drugs.
“Yeah, but drugs ruin lives and they’re horrible. Y’know, like getting thrown into prison for life…”
Either way, news about President Obama planning to set non-violent drug offenders free has caused a healthy debate online and on Reddit. As reported by the Inquisitr, Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has also been her own source of plenty of Reddit buzz as of late.
[Image via Getty]