in its effort to curtail severe penalties in low-level drug cases, is taking the unprecedented step of encouraging defense lawyers to suggest inmates whom the president might let out of prison early.More specifically, it is reported that Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole has said that the Justice Department has, in the past, wanted to send more names to White House for clemency consideration. He asked that defense lawyers assist and announced that prison officials will be spreading the word among inmates that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders might be eligible to apply for clemency.
The Times calls this a "clemency drive" aimed at undoing "sentencing discrepancies that began during the crack epidemic decades ago." Said Cole:
“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today ... This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”See story here.