On Friday, Rolling Stone Magazine published an open letter to President Obama written by singer John Legend, asking the president to pardon as many offenders incarcerated in the War on Drugs as possible before he leaves office in January. Legend first commended the president on the many steps his administration has taken already to decrease federal private prison use, in addition to the 1,093 (mostly non-violent, drug-related) sentences he’s commuted since he took office in 2008.

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Back in November 2016, President Obama granted 79 additional clemencies to men and women incarcerated in U.S. federal prisons. But it's not enough, says Legend.

Donald Trump may undo Obama’s work

Legend fears that newly elected Donald Trump and his administration will work to reverse any and all progress made by President Obama. That fear, coupled with his belief that there is more work to be done for incarcerated people in the U.S., compelled the entertainer to pen the open letter.

John Legend for SPIN Magazine | - spin.com
John Legend for SPIN Magazine | - spin.com

He wrote that he was adding his voice to the voices of two million other Americans who've asked President Obama to grant clemency and bring justice the families of non-violent offenders arrested in America's failed War on Drugs.

A health crisis, not a moral failure

Legend goes on to talk about the estimated 36,000 non-violent offenders who are incarcerated on drug charges right now in the U.S. who have sought clemency under President Obama's administration.

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The Grammy winner also mentioned United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy's statement that "substance abuse disorders affect nearly everyone in America," whether directly or indirectly,” Murthy said, “It is not a moral failing, or evidence of a character flaw, but a chronic disease of the brain that deserves our compassion and care."

According to Legend, the real moral failing "is the War on Drugs," and "America’s addiction to incarceration, which has not increased safety but needlessly torn families apart."

No word yet as to whether or not President Obama will issue a response.

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