Obama Commutes Sentences of 214 Prisoners

Thursday, August 4, 2016
Obama Commutes Sentences of 214 Prisoners
Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 2, 2016, in Washington.

President Obama granted clemency to 214 individuals -- the most sentences commuted in one day since 1900, the White House announced Wednesday.

"Too many men and women end up in a criminal justice system that serves up excessive punishments, especially for nonviolent drug offenses, but this is a country that believes in second chances," the president wrote in a Facebook post.

The president has granted a total of 562 commutations in his presidency, a number that exceeds "the previous nine presidents combined," White House Counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in a blog post.

Many of the individuals whose sentences were commuted were non-violent drug offenders. Some 67 of the individuals were serving life sentences.

Sentence Undone: A Life Lost To Drugs and Prison Restored By A President's Clemency

One of the individuals whose sentence was commuted was Ronald Evans, who was previously profiled by ABC News. Evans was originally sentenced to life in prison for his role in a small drug distribution ring. Evans was just a teenager at the time of his arrest in 1992.

Today, the president posted a letter from an individual whose sentence he commuted last year.

"When Sherman was a young man, he wrote, he made some bad choices, got in over his head, and ended up with a life sentence without parole for a nonviolent drug charge," the president said.

"After he served more than 20 long years in prison, I commuted Sherman's sentence and those of many others who were serving unjust and outdated prison sentences. And today, I'm commuting the sentences of an additional 214 men and women who are just as deserving of a second chance."

Related Topics