President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 102 drug offenders, bringing his total number of commutations 774, more than any of the 11 past presidents combined.
“The vast majority of today’s grants were for individuals serving unduly harsh sentences for drug-related crimes under outdated sentencing laws," White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement, according to USA Today. "With today’s grants, the President has commuted 774 sentences, more than the previous 11 presidents combined. With a total of 590 commutations this year, President Obama has now commuted the sentences of more individuals in one year than in any other single year in our nation’s history."
Eggleston continued speaking about the commutations:
While he will continue to review cases on an individualized basis throughout the remainder of his term, these statistics make clear that the President and his administration have succeeded in efforts to reinvigorate the clemency process. Beyond the statistics, though, are stories of individuals who have overcome the longest of odds to earn this second chance. The individuals receiving commutation today are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and in some cases grandparents. Today, they and their loved ones share the joy of knowing that they will soon be reunited.
The new round of commutations comes soon after Obama set a record for commuting 325 sentences during the month of August.
Obama's clemency initiative began in 2014 and focuses on people in federal prison who are serving 10 years or more for low-level, nonviolent offenses -- especially drug offenses -- who don't have connections to cartels or gangs, according to the Department of Justice.
Obama's 102 commutations in October top the numbers of the previous four presidents -- George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan -- combined.