BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 61 drug offenders Wednesday, including three men from Louisiana.
All of the inmates who had their sentences commuted are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or other related drug crimes. Most of the offenders are nonviolent offenders.
John E. Milton of Baton Rouge, Kevin County of New Orleans and Roy Lee Debose of Shreveport are three Louisiana men who had their sentences commuted Wednesday.
Milton was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine and cocaine base on April 3, 1997. He was sentenced to 600 months in prison, five years supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Upon his release, the $250,000 fine will be remitted.
County was convicted of distributing more than 100 grams of heroine and sentenced to 151 months in prison and six years of supervised release on December 18, 2002. He was also convicted of two counts of distributing less than 100 grams of heroin and sentenced to 240 months in prison and 10 years supervised release on March 26, 2003. The judge ordered that both sentences were to be served concurrently.
Debose was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride and conspiracy to posses with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base. He was sentenced to 240 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release on September 18, 2000.
All three men are set to be released from prison on July 28.
Obama stated in the letter sent to those who had their sentences commuted that the presidential power to grand commutations and pardons "embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance."
The president, along with the Justice Department, is working to renew the interest in overhauling the United States criminal justice system.
Currently, there are federal mandatory life sentences given to drug offenders who are caught three times.
City Council members in New Orleans recently voted to relax punishments for marijuana possession. Those caught in possession of marijuana will now face a fine instead of jail time.