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July 13, 2015

Obama commutes sentences of 46 U.S. federal prisoners

President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 federal prisoners on Monday, a move he said is part of his commitment to reforming the U.S. criminal justice system. 

Obama has now commuted the sentences of 89 prisoners, the vast majority of whom were nonviolent drug offenders who applied for clemency under an initiative the White House began in April 2014.

The majority of those whose sentences were commuted on Monday were sentenced for crack cocaine offenses, crimes that once carried a prison term equivalent to someone caught with 100 times the same amount of powder cocaine.

"Their punishments didn't fit the crime," Obama said.

The 46 prisoners are scheduled to be released on Nov. 10. 

White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement he expects Obama to issue additional commutations and pardons before the end of his term in January 2017.