On Thursday, President Obama reduced the sentences of 102 more prisoners, many of them non-violent drug offenders. This latest round means the 44th president has granted clemency to 774 prisoners, a total that dwarfs all his modern predecessors, as illustrated by the White House’s own statistics.
As CNN points out, many of those who will have their stay in prison shortened were originally sentenced under mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, which have in many cases been rolled back. The White House says that the president, in part, hopes to bring on-the-books sentences in line with the current law.
In August, Obama made history by commuting the sentences of 214 inmates in a single day, the broadest such act in American history. As the end of his term draws near, Obama’s staff reports that there has been a dramatic increase in applications for clemency. But White House counsel Neil Eggleston assures CNN that all applications will be reviewed before Inauguration Day. “We’re not going to have a failure of resources here,” he says. “I’m pretty confident that we’ll get to all of those.”
Prison reform has been a central piece of Obama’s final 18 months in office; last fall he banned discrimination against ex-convicts who seek employment with the federal government.