President Obama's Words to Prisoners He Just Helped Are Inspiring

July 14th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

Before the White House made the official announcement, President Barack Obama penned a letter addressed to each of the 46 federal prisoners who were granted clemency Monday. He's now sent 89 of these letters, having commuted more sentences than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, who issued 226 during his tenure.

As federal drug laws have changed, outdated laws can often lead to long and sometimes lifetime prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Today, if they had committed those crimes, they would have had shorter sentences, according to the White House. 

BREAKING: President Obama just granted clemency to 46 men and women whose sentences didn't fit their crimes. Nearly all of these individuals would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today: http://go.wh.gov/KtwU7f

Posted by The White House on Monday, July 13, 2015

"Dear Jerry," one letter reads.

"I wanted to personally inform you that I will be granting your application for commutation."

Obama goes on to say that the clemency power he wields "is one of the most profound authorities granted to the President of the United States," and that it "embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws."

In his formal address Monday morning, however, the president concedes that many prisoners incarcerated in the U.S. have been sentenced under dated or amended statutes—especially as far as drug laws are concerned.

"These men and women were not hardened criminals, but the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years. Fourteen of them had been sentenced to life for nonviolent drug offenses," he stated. "So their punishments didn’t fit the crime—and if they’d been sentenced under today’s laws, nearly all of them would’ve already served their time."

What the letters from the president to federal prisoner say

Obama's message to the American public is expressed plainly: This is a nation of second chances, as he sees it. "Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity."

Pardon Letter

"I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong, and change your life for the better. So good luck, and Godspeed."

The president is scheduled to speak at an NAACP convention in Philadelphia Tuesday to "lay out some idea for criminal justice reform." On Thursday, he will visit El Reno Correctional Institute and become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, as part of a VICE documentary special to premiere on its HBO series this fall.

Here's Why Pres. Obama Just Pardoned 46 Non-Violent Drug Offen...

Here's why Pres. Obama just pardoned 46 non-violent drug offenders...

Posted by ATTN: on Monday, July 13, 2015