President Obama hits 1,000 mark for commutations granted

FILE PHOTO - In this Oct. 21, 2016, photo, President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Ninety-eight federal inmates will return home sooner than expected after President Barack Obama commuted their sentences on Oct. 27, part of a clemency push that has sped up dramatically in Obama's final months. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
FILE PHOTO - In this Oct. 21, 2016, photo, President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Ninety-eight federal inmates will return home sooner than expected after President Barack Obama commuted their sentences on Oct. 27, part of a clemency push that has sped up dramatically in Obama's final months. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has surpassed the 1,000 mark for commutations granted during his presidency after shortening sentences for 79 people.

Obama has been granting commutations at rapid-fire pace in his final months in office. The White House says he’s commuted more sentences than the past 11 presidents combined.

Most of those who have received clemency are nonviolent drug offenders, though many were also convicted of firearms violations related to drug crimes.

Obama says “it makes no sense” for nonviolent drug offenders to serve decades in prison or life sentences. He says it burdens taxpayers and overcrowded prisons without benefiting public safety.

Obama is calling for a criminal justice overhaul to address overly onerous sentencing and other problems. Congress has shown bipartisan interest but hasn’t acted on those reforms.


 

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