President commutes sentence of Townsend man

A Townsend man was one of 46 prisoners whose sentence was commuted Monday by President Barack Obama.

All 46, according to, are serving sentences for non-violent crimes.

Information listed for Jackie Johnson said his offense was possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of a cocaine base. His sentence, from Jan. 30, 2007, was 240 months’ imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised. The commutation grant lists the sentence to expire on Nov. 10, 2015.

The president made the announcement in a two-minute video posted on the White House’s Facebook page. In it he said the men and women were serving “sentences that didn’t fit their crimes.”

These are “not hardened criminals,” President Obama said, adding most were sentenced to more than 20 years.

According to the White House, he also wrote each a letter in which he told them that a successful re-entry into society would include responsibility, hard work and “smarter choices” on their part.

The president has issued almost 90 commutations during his seven years in office, according to the Associated Press. A commutation leaves the conviction in place, but ends the punishment.

The White House did not say where Mr. Johnson currently is incarcerated.

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