President Obama issued 12 pardons and granted commutations to eight Americans serving time for drug-related offenses Wednesday. The eight men and women are the first inmates to receive reduced sentences as a part of the administration's change of clemency criteria announced in April. Individuals must be non-violent, low-level offenders who served at least 10 years in prison and would be handed down lesser sentences if convicted of the same crimes today. "While all eight were properly held accountable for their criminal actions, their punishments did not fit their crimes," Deputy Attorney General James Cole said. The 12 who were pardoned had mostly served short sentences from previous decades.
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