Obama shortens prison sentences for 61 drug offenders, Mass. man included on list

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Detroit. During an interview with Politico posted on its website Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, Obama was extremely cautious in discussing the presidential campaign to avoid showing explicit favor in the Democratic race. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is commuting the prison sentences of 61 people serving time for drug-related offenses, including one from Massachusetts.

White House counsel Neil Eggleston says more than a third of the inmates were serving life sentences. Obama’s commutation shortens their sentences. Most will be released July 28.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations.

The commutations bring to 248 the number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted. The White House says that’s more than the past six presidents combined.

Obama will meet Wednesday with people whose sentences were previously commuted under Obama or under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The White House says they’ll discuss re-entering society after incarceration.

A Springfield man is among 61 drug offenders whose sentences have been shortened by President Barack Obama.

A federal judge in Massachusetts sentenced Manuel Colon to 20 years in 2007 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin, and a related charge.

The White House announced the commutations Wednesday. Under the president’s order, Colon will be released July 28.

In a letter last summer to the judge who sentenced Colon, his lawyer said Colon had already served 12 years in prison since his arrest in 2003. He said current sentencing guidelines would call for a sentence of seven to nine years — less than Colon has already served.

Colon’s lawyer said his behavior was not violent and he has a good conduct record in prison.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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