Though many were in prison exclusively for drug offenses, some also had gun charges on their records, according to the White House press release announcing the commutations. Only a few weeks ago, he commuted another 102 sentences of mostly nonviolent drug offenders.
The latest round brings to 872 the number of sentences Obama has commuted, including 688 this year. It is the second round of commutations this month, following the October 6 reduction of 102 prisoners' sentences.
Forty-two of the individuals granted clemency today were originally sentenced to life in prison.
A Gardner man was among 98 federal inmates who had their sentences commuted by President Obama Thursday, the White House announced Thursday. It wasn't until a week later that the Justice Department updated its clemency statistics to reveal that he had denied 2,917 commutation petitions on September 30. President George W. Bush granted just 0.1% of commutation applications that reached his desk, but was more generous with full pardons at this point in his presidency.
The commutations are part of Obama's push to reform the criminal justice system to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
There is also the case of one inmate who was granted clemency, but refused the commutation due to conditions that were placed on it. He said many of these individuals made mistakes at young ages, and have since worked diligently to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated. That means he has up to 22 more years left to serve. An inmate in North Dakota and one in Idaho were granted commutations.