President Barack Obama has now ordered more prisoners released early from federal penitentiaries in a single year than any of his predecessors, after commuting the sentences of 98 people on Thursday.
The announcement of the release of mostly non-violent drug offenders brings to 872 the number of people whose sentences Obama has shortened, with clemency granted to 688 people this year alone. That’s more than the past 11 presidents combined.
“While there has been much attention paid to the number of commutations issued by the President, at the core, we must remember that there are personal stories behind these numbers,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a blog to be posted to the White House website later Thursday afternoon. “These are individuals — many of whom made mistakes at a young age — who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated.”