President Obama grants clemency to 348 men and women
June 06, 2016 at 11:55 am
Once President Obama takes his final bow at the White House, he will have a number of presidential records to celebrate. Since his first term, the President has commuted more sentences than the past seven presidents combined. The White House recently announced the latest stats, totaling 348 criminals granted clemency by President Obama.
On Friday, 42 men and women received commutations with a huge majority of them serving life sentences.
“He remains committed to using his clemency power throughout the remainder of the Administration to give more deserving individuals that same second chance,” wrote White House counsel, Neil Eggleston.
President Obama has made it a top priority to provide another shot a freedom to individuals convicted under outdated laws with stiff penalties that did not fit the crime.
President Obama wrote in a Medium post last month, “While I will continue to review clemency applications, only Congress can bring about the lasting changes we need to federal sentencing. That is why I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in Congress to reform federal sentencing laws, particularly on overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Because it just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison. An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer.”
Only a few more months are left in his final term and President Obama’s clemency record is expected to climb. The criteria for inmates applying for clemency is specifically for nonviolent offenders with good behavior who would have otherwise received a lighter sentence if convicted at a later date.
In a VICE documentary featuring the President’s tour of a federal prison in 2015, he spoke candidly with inmates about the biggest issues plaguing the nation’s judicial system and what changes should be implemented before an overhaul can take place. He’s made the time to hear the narratives of inmates and the ones benefitting from his work.