President Obama yesterday commuted the sentences of 102 more people, the “vast majority” of which have been in prison for nonviolent drug-related offenses. This brings the total number of pardons granted by Obama to 774, more than the number of commutations issued by the last 11 presidents combined.
“The vast majority of today’s grants were for individuals serving unduly harsh sentences for drug-related crimes under outdated sentencing laws,” said White House counsel Neil Eggleston in a press release. “With today’s grants, the President has commuted 774 sentences, more than the previous 11 presidents combined. With a total of 590 commutations this year, President Obama has now commuted the sentences of more individuals in one year than in any other single year in our nation’s history.”
“The President is doing the right thing, but we hope to see many more commutations,” says Michael Collins, deputy director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. ” We also need Congress to remain engaged on this issue.”
“It’s amazing how many commutations President Obama has granted, to men and women that have paid their dues for the non-violent drug crimes they have committed,” says Tony Papa, media relations manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (Papa himself was granted clemency in New York in 1997 after serving 12 years in prison for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. “I hope he continues until every last deserving drug war prisoner is reunited with their love ones.”
Obama has vowed to grant more commutations before he leaves office in January,