Obama Is Granting Clemency Left And Right On His Way Out

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of another 72 federal inmates Friday, bringing his commutation total to nearly 1,000.

With today’s grants, the president has granted 944 commutations, 324 of which were for convicts serving life sentences. Obama has commuted more federal prisoners than all presidents in the post-war era combined. Though all of the prisoners were convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, a number were also convicted of nonviolent weapons charges.

“What President Obama has done for commutations is unprecedented in the modern era,” said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston. “The President is committed to reinvigorating the clemency authority, demonstrating that our nation is a nation of second chances, where mistakes from the past will not deprive deserving individuals of the opportunity to rejoin society and contribute to their families and communities.”

Today’s announcement is the second in two weeks. Obama granted another 98 commutations last Thursday. (RELATED: How A Minnesota Law Clinic Convinced Obama To Spring 3 Cons)

Eggleston continued to urge Congress to pass a criminal justice reform bill, which includes reforms to mandatory minimum sentences. Mandatory minimums are laws that set minimum sentencing guidelines for certain crimes. Though there is strong bipartisan interest in such legislation, there are no plans in either chamber to take up the issue.

“As Congress returns this month, it is essential that they take up bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, including reforms that address the excessive mandatory minimum sentences that imprisoned many of the individuals receiving commutation today,” he said.

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