In the waning months of his presidency, Barack Obama continues to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
On Tuesday, Obama announced that nine Texans were among 79 individuals around the country to have their sentences commuted.
“It makes no sense for a non-violent drug offender to be serving decades, or sometimes life, in prison,” Obama said in a Facebook post. “That’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not serving the public safety. Instead, it burdens our already overcrowded prisons.”
One of the 79 was from Fort Worth.
Robert L. Moffitt was convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine base, distribution of cocaine base and maintaining a drug-involved premises in the Northern District of Texas in 2006. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2006, which was reduced to 24 years in 2012.
Today, Obama announced Moffitt’s sentence would be reduced to 15 years, half of the original amount.
The president described the sentences for “low-level drug crimes” as “overly harsh” and “outdated.”
Six of the nine Texans will be released by November 2018.
“At the heart of America is the idea that we’re all imperfect,” Obama’s post said. “We all make mistakes. We have to take responsibility and learn from those mistakes. And we as a society have to make sure that people who do take responsibility for their mistakes are able to earn a second chance to contribute to our communities and our country. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.
“Now it’s up to good minds on both sides of the aisle to come together to restore fairness in our criminal justice system, use our tax dollars more effectively, and give second chances to those who have earned them.”
In 2014, Obama directed the Justice Department to prioritize petitions for commutations from non-violent offenders who were serving longer sentences than they would receive today if they were convicted of the same crimes.
Obama has reduced sentences for more than 600 people since taking office, more than the last nine presidents combined.
In August, Obama reduced the sentences for 214 federal inmates, a record for one day.