WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today thanked President Obama for continuing his commitment to giving nonviolent federal offenders, convicted under arcane and harsh drug sentencing laws, a second chance by commuting the sentences of 214 people serving federal sentences, including three District of Columbia residents. The three D.C. residents are Fred Glover, serving a life sentence for distribution of cocaine base; Dennis Webb, serving a 36-month sentence for distribution of cocaine base; and Robert Hill, serving a 40-year sentence for distribution of cocaine base. Although Glover, Webb and Hill were serving federal sentences, most D.C. residents housed in federal prisons are D.C. Code offenders. Norton has introduced a bill that would give the District’s mayor exclusive authority to grant clemency for criminal convictions under its local laws.
“President Obama has used the leadership of his presidency to give second chances to nonviolent offenders and has set an important example for state law enforcement officials nationwide,” Norton said. “Many federal inmates were harshly sentenced under mandatory minimums, which have destroyed the lives of young people, particularly young black men,” Norton said. “There is, of course, no excuse for distributing drugs, but there is also no reasonable justification for sending nonviolent offenders to prison for the rest of their lives. President Obama is taking historic but responsible action to help correct the sins of the past and give men and women who have shown they have turned their lives around a second chance.”
Last year, Norton held a returning citizens roundtable after the first ever mass release of federal inmates as a result of the reduction of sentences by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, as affirmed by federal judges, for certain federal drug offenders, including 45 from the District.