Two men locally will see their time federal prison for drug trafficking cut short after having their sentences commuted by President Barack Obama today.
The pair is part of a group of 61 inmates granted commutations in the Obama’s ongoing effort to grant early release to non-violent drug offenders harshly sentenced to mandatory minimums during the heyday of the Justice Department’s “war on drugs.”Ian Kavanaugh Gavin, of Eight Mile, was arrested in 2006 for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and for carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.
At the time, Gavin was 28, and according to Mobile County Jail records, the incident was his first criminal offense.
In court, Gavin was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and 10 years of supervised release.
His original release date was set for 2022 to be followed by probation until he turned 55, but with Wednesday’s commutation, Gavin’s sentence will now expire in July, followed by four years of supervised release.In Mobile, Jerome Harris, Jr, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after he was arrested by Mobile police officers in 2004 for carrying a weapon while distributing cocaine and crack cocaine at age 40.
According to Mobile County Jail records, had a criminal history that spans back to 1996 and includes multiple drug offenses for possessing marijuana and cocaine in addition to charges of receiving stolen property, robbery, assault and carrying a pistol without a permit.
Under the sentence given in 2006, Harris would have been 65 at the time of his release in 2031.
Under his communication grant, his new release date is also scheduled in July, though he still must adhere to the same 10-year period of supervised release of his original sentence.The clemency initiative paving the way for these two early releases began two years when former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder started a clemency initiative for drug offenders who met certain qualifications outlined by the Department of Justice.
At the time, Holder called drug sentences from previous years “draconian.”
Obama has said, with his time left in office, he plans to continue commuting sentences for certain federal prisoners that meet those guidelines set by the DOJ. With today’s group of 61 — one-third of which were serving life sentences — Obama has granted clemency to 248 inmates during his presidency.