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Biden to commute sentences of 11 nonviolent drug offenders

By Samantha Waldenberg, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden will commute the sentences of 11 people serving “disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug offenses” on Friday, according to a White House official.

“I am commuting the sentences of 11 people who are serving disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. All of them would have been eligible to receive significantly lower sentences if they were charged with the same offense today,” Biden said in a statement.

The president is also pardoning “additional offenses of simple possession and use of marijuana under federal and D.C. law,” according to the White House.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs,” Biden said.

The president also touted his use of clemency power.

“I have exercised my clemency power more than any recent predecessor has at this point in their presidency,” he said. “And while today’s announcement marks important progress, my Administration will continue to review clemency petitions and deliver reforms that advance equal justice, address racial disparities, strengthen public safety, and enhance the wellbeing of all Americans.”

The first pardons of Biden’s presidency came in April of 2022, when he issued full pardons for three individuals, as well as commuted the sentences of 75 people serving time for nonviolent drug offenses as part of “Second Chance Month.”

In December 2022, Biden also pardoned six individuals who had already completed sentences for their offenses, including drug-related crimes and second-degree murder, and had become active in their communities following their release.

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