- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - President Barack Obama is allowing a Virginia woman sentenced to more than 21 years in prison on drug charges to get out of prison early.

Obama announced plans Wednesday to cut short prison time for eight drug convicts under a new policy designed to reduce harsh sentences under outdated guidelines.

The commutations are the first under a new administration policy designed to reduce the nation’s bulging prison population and grant leniency to nonviolent drug offenders sentenced to double-digit terms.

Cathy Lee Jones’ sentence was commuted to April 15, about nine years earlier than her scheduled release. The Portsmouth woman was sentenced in 2003 on charges related to heroin and cocaine distribution.

In 2012, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond had rejected Jones’ request to reduce her sentence.

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