On Monday, President Obama pardoned a staggering 78 prisoners and commuted the sentences of 153 others. In doing so, he broke the single-day record. No president in American history has pardoned that many inmates in a single day.
“With just 32 days left in office, Obama more than doubled the number of pardons he granted in the previous seven years,” reported USA Today.
Over half of Obama’s pardons were granted in the last year.
Last month, the White House signaled that Obama would use his clemency powers as much as possible in the waning days of his presidency. They weren’t kidding.
To date, the president has commuted the sentences of 1,176 federal prison inmates. Exactly 395 of those inmates were serving life sentences. Another 148 people have been pardoned.
Most of them were handed long sentences for drugs within the last three decades.
For context, see USA Today’s graph below:
Obama has far surpassed most presidents in recent memory in terms of the number of pardons he has granted. The figures are truly stunning.
Implying that the so-called “war on drugs” has been poorly conceptualized and devised, President Obama plans on correcting America’s supposed historical wrongs through the power of the bully pulpit.
"We need the president to pick up the pace of commutations before he leaves office,” stated Michael Collins, the deputy director at the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that has largely lauded Obama’s efforts to prematurely release prisoners.