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Obama Shortens the Sentences of More Than 200 Federal Prisoners In A Single Day

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In what has been called“the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century,” President Barack Obama shortened the terms of 214 presidential prisoners on Wednesday, 67 of whom had been serving life sentences.

This is different than pardoning the prisoners, according to the Wall Street Journal, because pardons fully “expunge” the offense from the person’s criminal record, and allows them to “vote, obtain gun licenses and apply for jobs without the burden of a criminal record.” When an individual is commuted, however, their sentence is merely shortened.

According to ABC, most of the inmates commuted by President Obama this week were male, and were serving extensive time for nonviolent drug charges or related crimes. For the most part, their imprisonments will end on Dec. 1 of this year.

This puts Obama’s total number of commutations at over 500, wrote the Wall Street Journal.

In an official White House blog post, Neil Eggleston wrote that, “All of the individuals receiving commutation today — incarcerated under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws — embody the president's belief that ‘America is a nation of second chances.’”

“That being said, our work is far from finished,” Eggleston continued. It is anticipated that many more inmates will be released before the end of Obama’s term early next year.


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