President Barack Obama is not done commuting prison sentences and pardoning people just yet. He commuted the sentences of 153 people and pardoned 78 more on Monday, making for the most single-day clemencies by any U.S. president, the White House announced. The latest commutations and pardons make Obama’s previous record for most commuted prison sentences in a single month (this past August) seem small in comparison. In one of October’s commutations, the president commuted 98 sentences.
A White House post about today’s commutations reported Obama has commuted sentences for 1,176 people in total, including 395 life sentences. With the addition of today’s pardons, Obama will have pardoned 148 people. A commutation is when a prison sentence is shortened, and a pardon is when a person is completely forgiven for their crimes.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in the post that he expects the President to approve more commutations and pardons before he leaves office almost exactly one month from now.
“The mercy that the President has shown his 1,324 clemency recipients is remarkable,” wrote Eggleston. “But we must remember that clemency is a tool of last resort and that only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure over the long run that our criminal justice system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.”
President Obama has commuted the most sentences of any president. He has also commuted more sentences than the past 11 presidents combined.
You can find information about all of the people granted clemency here.