Pres. Obama Just Made a Huge Move for Criminal Justice Reform

October 6th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

President Barack Obama has a little more than 100 days left in office, but he's continuing his historic campaign for criminal justice reform.

Obama gave commutations to another 102 prisoners on Thursday, bringing the total number of commutations during in his administration to 774 inmates. Of those commutations, 590 were given this year, which is the most given in one year ever, according to the White House website.

Obama has given more commutations than the last 11 presidents combined.

President Obama has given more commutations than the last 11 presidents combined.

Obama most recently granted commutations, a phrase that references clearing the remaining incarceration time on a sentence, in August to 111 inmates. The commutations have mainly focused on people serving long mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.


White House Chief Counsel Neil Eggleston wrote that Obama will continue to review cases though his clemency initiative, and he emphasized the need for second chances.

"The individuals receiving commutation today are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and in some cases grandparents," Eggleston wrote. "Today, they and their loved ones share the joy of knowing that they will soon be reunited."

BREAKING: Pres. Obama just commuted the sentences of 58 non-violent drug offenders.

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, May 5, 2016

However Eggleston once again made a call for legislative criminal justice reform to address mass incarceration. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

"Commutations can be a powerful tool to rectify specific cases, but the individualized nature of this relief highlights the need for bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. These include reforms that address the excessive mandatory minimum sentences that imprisoned many of the individuals receiving commutation today. Only the passage of legislation can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety."

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