Obama didnâ€™t seriously focus on pardons and commutations until 2014, two years into his second term. But, on Thursday, his last full day in office, Obama announced 330 more commutations, bringing his total number of clemencies to 1,715. He has granted commutations to more people than the last 12 presidents combined, more than 500 of them to inmates with life sentences.
â€œBy restoring proportionality to unnecessarily long drug sentences, this administration has made a lasting impact on our criminal justice system,â€ said Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. â€œWith 1,715 commutations in total, this undertaking was as enormous as it was unprecedented.â€
I’m one of those who criticized President Obama for his lack of pardons and commutations in his first term, so I must say I’m pleased to be able to report this.
This is an overdue recognition of the injustices that have been served by the drug war.
It’s also only a drop in the bucket.