BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - President Barack Obama is cutting short the sentences of 214 federal inmates, including two men from Gonzales. Sixty-seven of the inmates are serving life sentences.
The White House said it is the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century. Almost all the prisoners were serving time for non-violent drug offenses and will now be released later this year.
The commutations bring the total number of sentences Obama has shortened to 562. The White House said that is more than the past nine presidents combined. Almost 200 of those who have benefited were serving life sentences.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston said Obama will continue granting clemency to more inmates during the final months of his presidency. He said those receiving commutations were imprisoned under antiquated, overly harsh sentencing laws.
One of the cases involves Vincent Thomas, of Gonzales. He is serving time for two counts of violating the Federal Controlled Substances Act after being sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2008.
The other local case involves Steven C. Hall. The Gonzales man is serving time for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine and attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2005.
Five other inmates from Louisiana also had their sentences commuted.
Most of those receiving commutations Wednesday including Thomas will be released December 1. Hall is now set to be released on August 3, 2018.