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On Wednesday, President Barack Obama made history by issuing the largest number of commutations this nation has ever seen in one single day.

In a move that has critics on multiple sides of the issue crying foul, Mr. Obama commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates who were incarcerated for low-level drug offenses.

President Obama’s commutation totals have now reached 562, but many feel as though the Obama administration has not done enough to shorten the sentences of federal inmates.

On Friday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and his panel of guests discussed Mr. Obama’s announcement and if the President has gone far enough in using his constitutional clemency power.

NewsOne Now panelist Yolanda Young said, “It’s wonderful what he (President Barack Obama) has done so far, but these commutations don’t go far enough.”

Randa Fahmy, Deputy Secretary of Energy, told Martin, “The addiction problem is spreading.” Fahmy shared her belief that the president “has a little more leeway” to use his authority to commute the sentences of non-violent drug offenders.

“They don’t need prison – what they need is rehabilitation in the form of other sorts of outpatient treatment, especially if they haven’t committed crimes,” said Fahmy.

She continued, “The problem is the restoration of those voting rights.” 

The former Bush Administration Associate explained there is a considerable amount of pushback against the commutation of the non-violent drug offenders as a result of the current political season we’re in.

According to Fahmy, politicians will cry foul over the restoration voting for the formerly incarcerated because “somehow they’re going to try to stack the voting rules in favor of what people assume to be the Democrats.”

Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss President Obama commuting the sentences of more than 200 low-level drug offenders in the video clip above.


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


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