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Obama Grants Clemency to Record 214 Inmates in One Day

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2016 Aug 04

President Obama has granted clemency to 214 prison inmates in a single day, breaking a record that hadn’t been touched since at least 1900.

The Washington Post reports that Obama has consistently sought to release inmates over his presidency. He has pardoned 562 federal inmates in total, which is more than the previous nine presidents combined.

The purpose of granting these inmates clemency, according to the White House, is part of an attempt to bring about criminal justice reform.

Nearly all of the inmates granted clemency by Obama were imprisoned for nonviolent crimes, including, primarily, sentences having to do with illegal drugs. Some of the inmates, however, had been given life sentences.

“Today began like any other for 214 federal inmates across the country, but ultimately became a day I am confident they will never forget,” said Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel. 

Eggleston noted that only legislation will truly begin to correct the criminal justice issues in the U.S.

“While we continue to work to act on as many clemency applications as possible, only legislation can bring about lasting change to the federal system. It is critical that both the House and the Senate continue to work on a bipartisan basis to get a criminal justice reform bill to the President’s desk.”

The White House has released a full list of the inmates pardoned by Obama on Wednesday.  

Publication date: August 4, 2016