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Barack Obama commutes sentences of a record 153 federal captives in one day

Obama also issued 78 presidential pardons as part of initiative to cut sentences for nonviolent inmates

Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 153 federal inmates on Monday, the most on a single day by any US president in history.

The announcement brought the total for his presidency to more than 1,150, with the overwhelming majority issued just this year.

Obama also issued 78 presidential pardons, a power he has exerted much less freely during the course of its presidency. In fact, Obama issued more forgiveness on Monday than he had throughout his entire eight years in office to date( 70 ). The power to grant pardons is one historically reserved for the waning days of presidential administrations.

The latest round of commutations, which come scarcely a month before Obama vacates the Oval Office, are part of the Department of Justices Clemency 2014 initiative aimed at reducing the sentences of nonviolent federal captives. Since that endeavor began, Obama has granted clemency to more inmates than the last 11 chairpeople blended , including nearly 400 people serving life sentences.

As the clock counts down on the Obama administration, the need for commutations of these nonviolent drug wrongdoers and many more like them is more important than ever, told Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, which advocates clemency as part of an overall mission to cut the US prison population in half.

Justice requires that the president accelerate the rate of mercies he is granting. In the 80 s and 90 s, hundreds of thousands of people were handed decades-long or even life sentences behind bars for nonviolent medication offenses but the laws have changed. These men and women would be given a shorter, more equitable, sentence if they were to be tried for the same crime today, Jackson Sloan added.

A commutation is the shortening of a sentence, while a presidential forgivenes absolves a person of a crime as if they were never convicted. The supreme court has ruled that pardons carry an admission of remorse, but pardoned someones are able to fully claim all the rights, like voting, the hell is denied to convicts in some jurisdictions.

Advocates of reducing the prison population through the use of clemency have been pushing Obama to release as many people as is practicable in the remaining days of his second word. Both President-elect Trump and Jeff Sessions, Trumps nominee for the role of attorney general, have been critical of Obamas use of executive power to grant clemency, even for long-serving non-violent inmates.

The 231 people granted clemency today have all demonstrated that they are ready to make use or have already made use of a second chance, read a statement from the White House on Mondays historic proclamation. While each clemency recipients tale is unique, the common thread of rehabilitation underlies all of them. For the forgivenes recipient, it is the story of an individual who has led a productive and law-abiding post-conviction life, including by contributing to the community in a meaningful way.

Jackson Sloan said her hope was that with just over a month left in office, Mondays announcement would not be Obamas last. President Obama has raised the hopes of thousands of families with his historic clemency initiative, Jackson Sloan told. We urge him not to dash those hopes by failing to process all of the applications currently awaiting his review.

According to the Department of Justice, more than 20,000 applications have been received in the past three years.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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