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Department of Justice clemency program
Federal prisoners serving sentences for non-violent drug crimes now have a better chance at receiving clemency.
Today the Justice Department announced new rules that broaden the criteria for the president to show compassion or leniency for some offenders.
The decision is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to reduce the U.S. prison population by turning back the use of harsh sentences for drug crimes.
The move is expected to lead to thousands of prisoners filing applications.
"There are still too many people in federal prison sentenced under the old regime who as a result will have to spend far more time in prison that they would today for exactly the same crime. This is simply not right."
The clemency changes would be open only to prisoners who meet specific conditions
--they must be low level, non-violent offenders..
--have served at least ten years of their sentence and demonstrated good behavior.
--and significant criminal history would likely mean disqualification.