Obama Clemency Recipient Ordered Back to Prison

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Carol Richardson of Texas was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 for possessing 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. Prosecutors said she intended to distribute the drugs. She claimed the chunks of cocaine were to feed her own addiction. Former President Obama agreed with criminal justice reform advocates who argued that the law unjustly treated those found with crack cocaine the same as those caught with more expensive, but less bulky, pure form of powder cocaine. Obama granted clemency to a record number of prisoners who had committed nonviolent drug-related offenses, including Richardson. She has been ordered to return to prison after violating the terms of her release, the Washington Post reports.

During his two terms, Obama commuted 1,715 sentences, more than any other president in history. Richardson was released on July 28, 2016. On April 13, she was arrested for theft in Pasadena, Tx., a Houston suburb. In addition to here arrest, acting U.S. attorney Abe Martinez said Richardson violated four other terms of her release, including a failure to report any “law enforcement contact” to her probation officer within 72 hours. The CAN-DO Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for clemency for nonviolent drug offenders, including Richardson, complained that she had not received drug treatment while in prison. She now must serve another 14 months behind bars.

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