- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota man is among the 111 federal inmates whose sentences were cut short on Tuesday by President Barack Obama in another round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

Under Obama’s directive, the sentence of Norman Eugene Van Zee will end Aug. 30, 2018, as long as he enrolls in a residential drug treatment program.

Van Zee, of Highmore, was sentenced in October 2003 to more than 24 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries.

The 54-year-old Van Zee is at a correctional facility in El Reno, Oklahoma.

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