Barack Obama marked the end of his presidency by commuting the sentences of 330 prisoners, bringing the total number of commutations granted to more
than 1,700. ‘The vast majority of these men and women are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes,’ said a White House statement. ‘With today’s action, the president has granted more commutations than any president in this nation’s history and has surpassed the number of commutations granted by the past 13 presidents combined.’
In 2014, Obama directed officials at the US Department of Justice to encourage federal prison inmates serving sentences imposed under ‘outdated’ laws and ‘overly harsh drug sentencing’ to apply for clemency. More than 500 of the 1,715 inmates to have their sentences commuted had been sentenced to life in prison. Those granted commutations were ‘stories of rehabilitation and growth, of families reunited and lives turned around,’ said the White House.