The prison terms of eight drug offenders who were sentenced "under an unfair system" were commuted today, President Barack Obama said.
"If they 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 Thursday afternoon, citing the Fair Sentencing Act he signed in 2011. "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."
The president commuted the life sentence of Clarence Aaron of Mobile, Ala., whose term is now set to expire in April 2014. Aaron was sentenced in 1993 in the Southern District of Alabama on conspiracy and possession charges. Propublica and The Washington Post spotlighted Aaron's case in May 2012.
"Each of them has served more than 15 years in prison," Obama said today. "In several cases, the sentencing judges expressed frustration that the law at the time did not allow them to issue punishments that more appropriately fit the crime."