Building on clemency granted to 214 inmates serving lengthy sentences in the federal prison system earlier in August, President Obama demonstrated a similar capacity for grace with a further 111 commutations on Tuesday.
35 of those receiving presidential leniency were serving life sentences.
A statement from the White House outlined the commutations:
“Today’s 111 commutation grants underscore the President’s commitment to using his clemency authority to provide a second chance to deserving individuals. To date, President Obama has granted 673 commutations: more commutations than the previous ten presidents combined. More than one-third of the President’s commutation recipients, or 232 individuals, were serving life sentences.”
Targeting mostly drug non-violent drug offenders, Justice Department lawyers vowed to review similar cases in which, under today’s legal circumstances, defendants would receive lighter penalties.
Under Mr. Obama’s 2014 Clemency Initiative, commutations increased; however, a backlog developed after non-drug offenders attempted to appeal for leniency prompting Justice’s pardon attorney, Deborah Leff, to resign over concerns her division lacked the manpower to review cases and legal scholars to question the administration’s resolve to meet the goal of freeing those worthy of release.
As of Tuesday, 673 prisoners have been released under the Clemency Initiative.
[Vice] [whitehouse.gov] [Photo courtesy New York Observer]