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December 19, 2015

Obama commutes sentences of four Philly drug offenders

95 prisoners with harsh punishments receive clemency

Four prisoners in Philadelphia doing time on drug charges were granted commuted sentences by President Barack Obama Friday, joining 91 others who received similar treatment.

The move comes as a part of the president's efforts to relieve harsh punishments handed to drug offenders who were sentenced during the country's war on drugs.

Two of the Philadelphia offenders whose sentences were commuted - Thomas Daniels and David Padilla - were serving life in prison.

Daniels, who was given his sentence in 1996 for cocaine distribution, will be released on Dec. 18, 2016.

Padilla was convicted on counts of conspiracy, possession and intent to distribute cocaine as well as a gun charge related to drug trafficking in 1997.

He was given an additional 60 month's imprisonment as well as 10 years' supervised release on top of his life sentence, but will now leave prison on April 16, 2016.

The other two Philadelphia offenders - Alberto Gonzalez and Pedro Figueroa - still had several years left on their prison sentences. They will now both be released on April 16 as well.

In a letter addressed to the 95 prisoners who received commuted sentences, President Obama told the offenders he had granted them clemency because they had showed potential to turn their lives around.

This is the third time in 2015 that Obama has utilized the executive power of clemency on federal drug offenders, the Washington Post reports.