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Presidential pardons: 21 sentences commuted by Obama in year end pardons

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Presidential pardons were extended to a total of 21 individuals by Barack Obama this week, marking the president’s most extensive use to date of his power to commute convictions.

According to The Associated Press on Thursday, included in the pardons are eight individuals who were serving time for “unduly harsh drug sentences.”

In 2010, the president passed the Fair Sentencing Act, designed to close a loophole that treated crack cocaine convictions harsher than those arrested for using the powdered form of the same drug. The act pertained to new convictions only however.

“If [those jailed under the old guidelines] had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to society,” Obama said in a written statement. “Instead, because of a disparity in the law that is now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison, separated from their families and their communities, at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.”

A total of 13 individuals had their sentences pardoned and eight individuals had their sentences commuted.

CBS affiliate KFVS carried the list of all those who were pardoned and commuted, as well as their crimes.

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