President Obama today granted clemency to 231 people; this is the largest single day act of clemency in U.S. history.
The large majority of those receiving clemency were charged with non-violent drug crimes. President Obama has now granted clemency to 1,324 people, including 395 serving life sentences; this is well more than the past 11 presidents combined.
“The 231 individuals granted clemency today have all demonstrated that they are ready to make use — or have already made use — of a second chance,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement. “While each clemency recipient’s story is unique, the common thread of rehabilitation underlies all of them”.
The Washington Post has lists of the names of those receiving clemency, including the crimes they committed; for a list of the 150 people receiving commutations click here. For a list of the 70 inmates receiving pardons click here.
“Today’s grants signify the President’s continued commitment to exercising his clemency authority through the remainder of his time in office” says Eggleston. “In 2016 alone, the President has granted clemency to more than 1,000 deserving individuals.”
He continues; “The mercy that the President has shown his 1,324 clemency recipients is remarkable, but we must remember that clemency is a tool of last resort and that only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure over the long run that our criminal justice system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.”
There is still a chance that Obama will grant clemency to more individuals before he leaves office, though he’ll have to do so quick; he has just one month left before President-elect Donald Trump takes over.