President Barack Obama meets for lunch with formerly incarcerated individuals who have received commutations, at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Last week, President Obama commuted the drug sentences of 214 federal prisoners— many of them serving time for non-violent drug offenses involving possession or distribution. This is the most commutations in a single day in at least a century, according to the White House, bringing the total number of commutations under the Obama administration to 562, “more commutations than the previous nine presidents combined.”
OSI-Baltimore recognizes the need for comprehensive, ongoing reentry services to those citizens returning from federal prison. To that end, OSI-Baltimore has funded organizations like Living Classrooms Foundation and Center for Urban Families to provide reentry services to citizens in Baltimore and Maryland who have been granted Presidential clemency as well as those being released from federal prisons under revised drug sentencing guidelines adopted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2014.
Additionally, OSI understands that more must be done to recognize that addiction is a chronic disease and should be treated through the medical system, not the criminal justice system. Our Drug Addiction Treatment program supports programs that make addiction treatment accessible to as many people as possible by lowering the threshold to get into treatment and increasing the types of settings where treatment is available. We have also partnered with the Baltimore Police Department on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD) to divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and support services while allowing them to avoid arrest.