President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 prisoners this week. The White House selected prisoners who were doing hard time for what are considered less hard crimes – mostly non-violent drug offenses. Many of the draconian drug laws the freed prisoners were convicted under have been changed since their incarceration.
“The punishments did not meet the crime,” Obama said in a White House video. (It must have been extremely difficult to select just 46 people, given that many thousands of prisoners are serving similar sentences for similar convictions.) Obama erased the prison bars for the chosen 46 with his pen, which proved mightier than the sentencing. Below is one of the letters the president wrote to a prisoner, Mr. Jerry Allen Bailey, whose sentence he commuted: