Obama Sets Record-Breaking Number of Prisoners Free


The White House announced Wednesday afternoon that President Obama has reduced the sentences of another 214 federal prisoners – 67 of who were serving life terms.

Obama said they were all serving time for “non-violent” drug offenses, and he wants to give them a second chance in life.   It is the largest number of commutations in a single day in over 100 years.   

The White House also proudly announced that Obama has now granted 562 commutations during his term – more than the previous nine presidents combined.  Out of that number, 197 were serving life sentences.

According to the White House press release, some prisoners will be released from custody immediately, and others will serve more time under greatly reduced sentences.   Some will be “aided with additional drug treatment.”

Fox News reported that most of those whose sentences were reduced Wednesday will be released on December 1.

Promising the releases will continue at a rapid pace, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said, “We are not done yet. We expect that many more men and women will be given a second chance through the clemency initiative.”

Below is a portion of Obama’s announcement on the White House website:

Today began like any other for 214 federal inmates across the country, but ultimately became a day I am confident they will never forget. This morning, these individuals received a message from the President: your application for clemency has been granted.

This news likely carries special weight to the 67 individuals serving life sentences – almost all for nonviolent drug crimes – who, up until today, could only imagine what it might be like to once again attend a loved one’s birthday party, walk their child to school, or simply go to the grocery store. All of the individuals receiving commutation today, incarcerated under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws, embody the President’s belief that “America is a nation of second chances.”

Prisoner Pardons 1

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