Earlier this month, President Obama granted commutation to 102 federal inmates. Today, he granted another 98 commutations, underscoring his commitment to using his clemency authority through the remainder of his time in office. With today’s grants, the President has now commuted the sentences of 872 individuals. In this year alone, the President has commuted the sentences of 688 deserving individuals -- more than the previous 11 presidents combined – and the most ever done by a president in a single year.
While there has been much attention paid to the number of commutations issued by the President, at the core, we must remember that there are personal stories behind these numbers. These are individuals -- many of whom made mistakes at a young age -- who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated. Today, 98 recipients will hear the news that the President has found them deserving of a second chance. For the 42 individuals originally sentenced to life imprisonment, today’s news will carry special weight when they learn that they will be able to return to their families and communities.
The President’s clemency authority is a powerful tool being used to powerful effect, but the individualized nature of the relief granted today also highlights the urgent need for bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. Only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.
Learn more about President Obama's clemency efforts at whitehouse.gov/clemency.