President Releases 214 Federal Prisoners In Largest Clemency Use in US History

President Obama released a historic 214 federal inmates.

President Obama released a historic 214 federal prisoners. (Reuters)

President Releases 214 Federal Prisoners In Largest Clemency Use in US History

President Obama has just announced that he is using his constitutional clemency power to release more inmates than any other day in United States history. 214 inmates are now being released from federal prison on order of the President.

The release mostly consists of “low-level dug offenses,” which makes makes sense; people shouldn’t need to spend many years in federal prison just for simple possession of a controlled substance. For example, one of the released “low-level drug offenders” is, Richard L. Reser of Sedgwick, Kan., who was a felon convicted of dealing methamphatamine while using a firearm. This begs the question, if a drug dealer with a gun is a low-level offender, what constitutes a high-level offender? El Chapo?

This historic release follows along the political viewpoint that is growing in popularity: People are merely products of their environment. Society is responsible for people’s crimes, and so society needs to fix the problems that caused people to commit their crimes. This view holds that you cannot hold these “justice-involved” individuals responsible for their crimes, when they never had a chance in life to do anything else. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of rehabilitation framework in place to support these people after their release, and they are likely to end up in the same environment that they were in at the time of their offenses.

The constitutional power used by the President was a presidential commutation, which is different than pardons. A presidential pardon completely ignores that the crime ever happened. Commutations just reduce the prison sentences, but the convicts are still felons, with a criminal history, who need to have a supervised release.

The President has said that he’s not done yet, and he plans to release many more people before his term is up.

Left-wing critics of the President are claiming that he should have given these people a full pardon, which they claim would help these people fit back into the society that they had victimized, and restore their voting and gun rights. These critics apparently miss the point that people like Mr. Resner shouldn’t ever be allowed to possess a gun. Many right-wing critics are fine with locking these people up forever, as drug users almost all have victimized people to support their drug use, and have demonstrated an inability to function productively in society. Where do you stand on the issue?