Call Today for a free Consultation
262-923-8761 24 Hour Emergency Contact

President Obama's federal drug reform efforts showing progress

The problems with state and federal drug laws and sentencing guidelines are well-documented. In the majority of states, including Wisconsin, African Americans are many times more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes than whites are. Yet statistics show that the rate of drug use among African Americans is comparable to the rate among whites.

Even when we set aside issues of race, we can see that America's drug laws have arguably done more harm than good. Drug use has not significantly declined due to tougher laws and sentencing requirements, but prison populations have exploded.

We have written several times in the past year about changes being implemented at the Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder announced plans to change sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenses as well as President Obama's plans to commute the sentences of certain federal inmates sentenced under laws and policies which have since changed.

Last December, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight inmates in federal prison who had been convicted of non-violent drug crimes. Earlier this week, the president commuted sentences for 22 additional inmates with similar convictions.

Despite what some critics may allege, these sentence commutations are not a "free pass" for those convicted of drug crimes. Individuals who have had their sentences commuted would have likely served their time already if the laws and policies back then were the same ones we have today. A representative of the White House counsel noted that "because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years - in some cases more than a decade - longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime."

The Obama Administration has had a curious relationship with U.S. drug policy. On one hand, President Obama has been more outspoken than any of his predecessors about the need for significant criminal justice reform, especially regarding non-violent drug offenses. On the other hand, President Obama has used his clemency powers far less than almost any other president. Hopefully, in the final years of his second term, the president will live up to his stated goals and help bring about even more substantive drug policy reforms.

Source: The Drug Policy Alliance, "President Obama Commutes Drug Sentences for 22 People," March 31, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Choosing the Right Lawyer Buting for the Defense In The News

Our Office

Brookfield Office
400 N. Executive Drive
Suite 205
Brookfield, WI 53005

Phone: 262-923-8761
Phone: 262-821-0999
Fax: 262-821-5599
Map & Directions

Glendale Office
6165 North Green Bay Avenue
Glendale, WI 53209

Map & Directions

How Can
We Help You?


Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

This site uses Google's Invisible reCAPTCHA, which is subject to Google's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Email Us For A Response
Back To Top payment