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Minneapolis man among 111 to be released from federal prison early

A 43-year-old Minneapolis man is getting out of federal prison earlier than expected.

Jason Thomas Haslip is one of the 111 federal inmates who President Barack Obama granted clemency to on Tuesday, with the White House saying they were “incarcerated under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws.”

Haslip was scheduled to be released from prison in June 2022, the Pioneer Press reports, after being convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute and two counts of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute ecstasy and methamphetamine, according to court records.

But now his sentence is set to expire Aug. 30, 2018, so long as he enrolls in a residential drug treatment program, the Pioneer Press says.

This condenses Haslip’s prison sentence to a total of about 14 years.

Obama wants drug policy reform

 

Obama believes in phasing out strict drug conviction sentences because they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates, The Associated Press explains. He says Congress needs to draft criminal justice reform legislation to reduce prison overcrowding.

There were more than 210,000 federal inmates as of 2014, not including the 1.3 million in state facilities, the Washington Post says. More than half of the federal inmates were serving time for drug-related offenses.

Obama said at a recent news conference that these drug sentences “perpetuate a cycle of poverty and disorder, noting “it is a disproportionately young men of color that are being arrested at higher rates, charged and convicted at higher rates, and imprisoned for longer sentences,” according to the Washington Post.

Earlier this month, Obama granted commutation to 214 federal inmates. So with Tuesday’s announcement, Obama has shortened sentences for 325 prisoners in August alone, making it the greatest number of commutations ever granted by a president in a single month, the White House says.

Obama has also commuted sentences of more inmates than the past 10 presidents combined, the White House notes.

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