ABOVE PHOTO: President Barack Obama, assisted by Deputy Staff Secretary Ted Chiodo, signs bills in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
By Nancy Benac
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is cutting the prison sentences of 46 convicts as part of a broader effort to make the criminal justice fairer and ease the punishment of those serving more time than their crimes warranted.
The president has now issued nearly 90 commutations, most of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under outdated sentencing rules. A commutation leaves the conviction in place, but ends the punishment. Several of those granted clemency Monday had been sentenced to life in prison.
Obama this week is devoting considerable attention to the criminal justice system. He laid out ideas for how to improve the fairness of the system during a speech at the national NAACP convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday. And on Thursday he became the first siting president to visit a federal prison.