President Obama Set Another Record for Criminal Justice

December 19th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

President Barack Obama pardoned 78 federal inmates and reduced the prison sentences of 153 others Monday as part of his final push to reform America's criminal justice system before leaving office in January.


No other president in U.S. history has granted clemency to as many prisoners in a single day.

Over the course of his administration, Obama has commuted the sentences of nearly 1,200 inmates — mostly nonviolent drug offenders — including almost 400 individuals who were serving life sentences.

"Today’s grants signify the President’s continued commitment to exercising his clemency authority through the remainder of his time in office," White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a press release on Monday.

"The President continues to review clemency applications on an individualized basis to determine whether a particular applicant has demonstrated a readiness to make use of his or her second chance, and I expect that the President will issue more grants of both commutations and pardons before he leaves office," he added. 

Obama has repeatedly blamed harsh drug laws for putting millions in prison under excessive sentences, contributing to mass incarceration in America. In spite of Obama's commutations, the U.S. still has the largest prison population in the world with about 2.2 million currently serving time in the country, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.