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13 drug offenders get a Christmas present from Obama

  1. On Wednesday, President Obama granted eight pardons to people convicted of federal crimes, and commuted the sentences of twelve additional prisoners.
  2. 13 of the 20 felons who received either a pardon or a commutation today had been convicted of federal drug crimes, according to NBC News' Chris Jansing.
  3. Pardons are for people who have already served their sentences. They restore the civil rights that most people lose after they're convicted of felonies, like voting rights, occupational licenses, and gun ownership.
  4. Commutations reduce the sentences of people who are currently in prison.
  5. President Obama has pardoned fewer people than any of his predecessors. He's approved only one of every 50 pardon petitions — George W. Bush pardoned one in 33.
  6. The Obama administration is currently in the process of a massive clemency effort. They're reviewing applications from thousands of federal prisoners who were convicted of drug crimes, and whose sentences are longer than the ones they'd receive today. However, this process is going very slowly.

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