How Are 46 Federal Clemency Recipients Doing After A Year?

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Releasing 348 people from prison early last year provoked remarkably little criticism for President Obama, says the Washington Post.. To date, Obama has commuted more sentences than his seven predecessors combined; when the president granted clemency to 46 nonviolent drug offenders last July, many of whom were sentenced under laws that no longer exist, critics mostly complained that he hadn’t let more people go free.

 

Sometimes, getting out is the easy part. Behind each of the commuted sentences is a person whose life has been dramatically complicated by prison. The Post wanted to know who those 46 people are and what life is like, in their words, a year after they learned they would go free. More than 40 reporters and editors worked to track down the individuals who received clemency last July and record their stories, which the newspaper presents in condensed form. One recipient explained his mixed feelings of gratitude and anger. He knew he deserved to go to prison for his crime, he said, but he also knew the sentence was unjust. How grateful should you be when someone merely corrects a wrong that never should have existed in the first place?

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