President Obama commuted the sentences of 102 federal prison inmates Thursday, continuing his move to dramatically reduce the number of inmates in prison for drug crimes.
“The vast majority of today’s grants were for individuals serving unduly harsh sentences for drug-related crimes under outdated sentencing laws,” White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement. “With today’s grants, the President has commuted 774 sentences, more than the previous 11 presidents combined. With a total of 590 commutations this year, President Obama has now commuted the sentences of more individuals in one year than in any other single year in our nation’s history.”
The inmates who were granted clemency spanned from North Dakota to Missouri, with sentences ranging from tens of years to life in prison.
Ricky Gene Minor, of Niceville, Florida, was sentenced to life without parole for a nonviolent drug offense in 2001. He was featured in an American Civil Liberties Union report titled “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses,” and the ACLU represented him in his application.
Minor has spent the last 15 years in prison, according to the ACLU, and he has earned a GED and has taken classes in computer skills, business, real estate and accounting.
“I have become a better man over the last 15 years,” Minor said regarding the commutation, according to ACLU. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be the person I am now out in the world.”