White House: Obama shortens prison sentences of 111 convicts

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Obama Shortens Prison Sentences of 111 Convicts

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama shortened the prison sentences of 111 convicts serving time for drug-related offenses in his second round of clemency grants this month, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama has now granted a total of 673 commutations during his presidency, more than the number granted by the 10 previous presidents combined, as he seeks to reform the criminal justice system, it said.

For some of the convicts, the commutations mean they will serve only half of their original prison sentences. For instance, Sly Stallone Aikens of South Carolina, serving a sentence of 360 months for using and carrying a gun during a drug trafficking crime, will now serve only 180 months.

More than one-third of the 673 convicts had been serving life sentences.

Obama has made reducing the number of people serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses a priority. It is one of the rare issues where the president gets support from Republican lawmakers.

He launched the clemency program in 2014, inviting thousands of drug offenders and others to seek early release. It was the most ambitious such program in 40 years, but it has struggled under a flood of thousands of unprocessed cases.

The White House counsel, Neil Eggleston, said he expects Obama will continue to grant commutations through the end of his presidency, which ends on Jan. 20. But only legislation passed by Congress can "achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively," Eggleston said.

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Marijuana laws by state

Alabama

No legalization of any kind

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Alaska

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

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Arizona

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: TaylorB90/Flickr)

Arkansas

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: yorkfoto)

California

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Colorado

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use  

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Connecticut

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Delaware

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Florida

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Georgia

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Hawaii

Marijuana legalized for medical use

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Idaho

No legalization of any kind

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Illinois

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana

No legalization of any kind

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Iowa

No legalization of any kind

(photo: yorkfoto)

Kansas

No legalization of any kind

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Kentucky

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana

No legalization of any kind

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Maine

Marijuana legalized for medical use

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Maryland

Marijuana legalized for medical use

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Massachusetts

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Michigan

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Minnesota

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: anthonylibrarian/Flickr)

Mississippi

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc via Getty Images)

Missouri

No legalization of any kind 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Montana

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: J.Stephen Conn/Flickr)

Nebraska

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Nevada

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Hampshire

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Jersey

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Mexico

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

New York

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

North Carolina

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Getty Images)

North Dakota

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Ohio

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oklahoma

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oregon

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use  

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Pennsylvania

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Henryk Sadura)

Rhode Island 

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Carolina

No legalization of any kind

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South Dakota

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL/Flickr)

Tennessee

No legalization of any kind

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Texas

No legalization of any kind

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Utah

No legalization of any kind 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Vermont

Marijuana legalized for medical use

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Virginia

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Washington

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

West Virginia 

No legalization of any kind

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Wisconsin

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: Kubrak78)

Wyoming

No legalization of any kind

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(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Jonathan Oatis)


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