On Thursday, President Obama set the record for the most commutations ever granted by a president in a single year by shortening the sentences of another 98 prisoners. That brings Obama's total for 2016 up to 688 commutations; throughout his entire presidency, Obama has commuted 872 sentences as he pushes for reforms to the criminal justice system.
"While there has been much attention paid to the number of commutations issued by the president, at the core, we must remember that there are personal stories behind these numbers," White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote on the White House website Thursday afternoon. "These are individuals — many of whom made mistakes at a young age — who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated."
All of the prisoners whose sentences were commuted Thursday were serving time for non-violent, drug-related offenses; 42 of the 98 were facing life sentences. Some of the prisoners will not be released until 2018, and others will have to enter residential drug treatment programs after they are released.