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President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 79 federal inmates on Tuesday, upholding his pledge to release non-violent and low-level, drug offenders, The Hill reports.

The president made the vow in 2014. Since then, he has shortened the stays of 351 federal inmates, the media outlet writes. With Tuesday’s announcement, President Obama has now commuted a total of 1,023 men and women, granting more commutations than the last 11 presidents combined. According to White House Counsel Neil Eggleston who spoke with The Hill, 342 of the total inmates were serving life sentences.

“The power to grant pardons and commutations… embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws,” the president said in a White House statement.

Eggleston predicted to The HIll that the president would continue to grant commutations up until inauguration day.

Though it is unclear how many more, the Department of Justice reports there were over 6,300 petitions from non-violent drug offenders as of Aug. 31. According to The Hill, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates says the department is on track to make recommendations on each petition before January 20, Obama’s last day in office.

Last week, family members of incarcerated individuals created a petition with more than 2 million signatures asking the Obama administration to speed up their rate of clemencies before his departure date, The Hill reports.

They fear the next administration won’t make clemency a priority and have questions regarding where it falls on the agenda for President-elect Donald Trump.

“I can’t speak to whether the next administration will have a similar enthusiasm,” Eggleston told The Hill.

SOURCE: The HillThe White House | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


President Obama Commutes Sentences Of 98 More Federal Prison Inmates

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President Barack Obama Commutes Sentences Of 79 Federal Inmates  was originally published on