With less than three months left in his term, President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 98 people on Thursday. This is just one of POTUS’ rounds of commutations this year. In August, he commuted the sentences of 111 people.
The Department of Justice announced today’s commutations in a news release, in which it named all of the people having their sentences commuted and listed their new sentences. Today’s commutations included 42 life sentences.
A commutation is when the President enacts his executive power to shorten a prison sentence. This is different than a pardon, which absolves the person of all charges completely. Earlier this month, Obama commuted the sentences of 102 people.
With today’s commutations, President Obama has commuted the sentences of 872 people. Of those, 688 have happened this year. Despite Obama’s record-breaking number—he’s commuted the most sentences of any president—the president hasn’t met his 2014 pledge to commute the sentences of 10,000 people. According to the Department of Justice’s clemency statistics, as of Oct. 1 there are 1,920 pending applications for pardon and 11,355 for commutation.
In a blog post about today’s commutations, White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote: “The President’s clemency authority is a powerful tool being used to powerful effect, but the individualized nature of the relief granted today also highlights the urgent need for bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. Only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.”