President Obama Makes Criminal Justice History Once Again

August 3rd 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

President Barack Obama just officially commuted the sentences of 214 people, the highest number of commutations given in one day since 1900.

Obama meets with previous recipients of commutations.

He's now given more commutations than the last nine presidents combined, according to the White House.

As a part of his administration's clemency initiative, Obama has been commuting, or clearing, large parts or the full remaining portion of inmates' prison sentences.

President Obama has commuted more sentences than the past nine presidents combined.

Obama has given a total of 562 people the opportunity to leave prison; 197 of those people were serving life sentences. The last round of commutations happened in early June when 42 people were freed from their long prison sentences. The Obama administration has focused on freeing non-violent drug offenders, who received mandatory minimum sentences under harsh drug laws.

Despite the historic commutations, White House Counsel Neil Eggleston wrote on the White House website that Obama could free even more people in the remaining months of his presidency.

"I expect the President will continue to grant clemency in a historic and inspiring fashion," he wrote.

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