In his final day in office, President Obama granted 330 more commutations, the most in a single day in U.S. history.
The move – which comes just two days after the last batch of clemency – brings the total number of commutations granted by President Obama to 1715; this is well more than the past 12 presidents combined. Included in this commutations were 568 people who were serving life sentences; this means they would have died in prison if not for Obama.
The vast majority of the commuted charges were for drug-related offenses.
For comparison sake, former President George W. Bush granted just 11 commutations, whereas Bill Clinton granted 61
Today President Obama granted commutations to 209 individuals, and pardoned 64 more. The vast majority of these people had charges related to nonviolent drug offenses.
“With today’s 209 grants of commutation, the President has now commuted the sentences of 1,385 individuals – the most grants of commutation issued by any President in this nation’s history”, Neil Eggleston, Counsel to the President, said in a statement released today. “President Obama’s 1,385 commutation grants – which includes 504 life sentences – is also more than the total number of commutations issued by the past 12 presidents combined. And with today’s 64 pardons, the President has now granted a total of 212 pardons.”
Eggleston continues; “Today, 209 commutation recipients – including 109 individuals who had believed they would live out their remaining days in prison – learned that they will be rejoining their families and loved ones, and 64 pardon recipients learned that their past convictions have been forgiven. These 273 individuals learned that our nation is a forgiving nation, where hard work and a commitment to rehabilitation can lead to a second chance, and where wrongs from the past will not deprive an individual of the opportunity to move forward.”