Obama Commutes Sentences of 95 Federal Inmates, Including Ramona Brant

Obama Commutes Sentences of 95 Federal Inmates, Including Ramona Brant

By Victoria Kim 12/21/15

This marks the largest number of clemencies that have been granted in a single action by Obama. 

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President Obama commuted the sentences of 95 federal inmates on Friday—including Ramona Brant. The commutations (and two pardons) more than doubled the number the president has granted since taking office, to 184.

Most of the inmates were nonviolent drug offenders who have been in prison for over a decade, demonstrated good behavior, and would have received lesser sentences under current rules. In October, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation to reduce mandatory sentences for nonviolent crimes, target select offenders for early release and do more to help them transition back to society.

“If we can show at the federal level that we can be smart on crime, more cost effective, more just, more proportionate, then we can set a trend for other states to follow as well,” said the president in a press conference. “And that’s our hope.”

Forty of the inmates had been sentenced to life in prison. Most of them will be released in April. The president sent letters to each of the prisoners, which read, “I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”

Among the 95 inmates was Ramona Brant, a mother of two who received a life sentence 20 years ago for a first-time drug charge. At the time of her sentencing, the judge said he was “shocked by the severity of the sentence” and regretted that sentencing guidelines didn’t give him a choice but to sentence her to life. The Long Island, NY, native will be released in April. 

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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