“You have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around.”
Building on his commitment to address instances of unfairness in sentencing, President Obama has granted 184 commutations to individuals serving time in federal prison. Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime.

Underscoring the responsibility that a commutation brings, the President pens a letter to each individual receiving clemency, recognizing their potential to overcome the mistakes they made and encouraging them to make good choices moving forward.

Commutations underscore the President’s commitment to using all the tools at his disposal to bring greater fairness and equity to our justice system. Further, they demonstrate how exercising this important authority can remedy imbalances and rectify errors in sentencing. To put President Obama’s actions in context, President George W. Bush commuted 11 sentences in his eight years in office.