Obama shortens terms for 214 prisoners; 67 had life sentence

Six of are from SC and two are from the Lakelands.

Steve P. Gillespie, of Greeneville, was sentenced to almost 22 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base in 2006.

Eggleston said Wednesday's commutations continued an effort Obama begun two years ago to "spotlight instances of over-sentencing in our prisons" especially regarding people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. They were sentenced to 240 months imprisonment with 10 years of supervised release.

Those receiving commuted sentences are all imprisoned for drug-related, non-violent crimes.

The mass commutation is the largest ever issued in a single day US history, the White House said in a press release. White House counsel Neil Eggleston said each application is reviewed by three lawyers from the Department of Justice and the White House before making it to the president's desk.

Of the people receiving commutations, BuzzFeed notes, 67 were serving life sentences.

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On his Facebook page, the President shared a letter from an inmate who he commuted past year and stated "Too many men and women end up in a criminal justice system that serves up excessive punishments, especially for nonviolent drug offenses". Of those, 197 were serving life prison sentences.

Marston Edward Blue of District Heights was sentenced in 2002 to life in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute heroin and cocaine, felon in possession of firearm, possession with intent to distribute heroin and aiding and abetting. His sentence was commuted to expire on August 3, 2018, with the condition that he enroll in a residential drug treatment program.

Obama has now commuted the sentences for 562 individuals, more than the past nine presidents combined. He called on Congress to finally pass a criminal justice overhaul to bring about "lasting change to the federal system".

The move comes after Obama expressed his advocacy for a clemency review process in 2014 to free inmates who remain incarcerated thanks to outdated laws.

President Barack Obama is led on a tour by correctional officer Ronald Warlick during a visit to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., Thursday, July 16, 2015.

  • Sonia Alvarado