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Obama Has Cut Sentences Of Over 1,000 Inmates — And He's Not Done

This means President Obama has shortened prison sentences for more inmates than the previous 11 presidents combined.

By Jake Jones | November 22, 2016

President Obama has shortened prison sentences for more inmates than all of his 11 predecessors — combined. 

In a speech last year, Obama said: "But I believe that, at its heart, America is a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance."

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As part of his effort to reform the criminal justice system, Obama commuted 79 federal prison sentences Tuesday. That pushes his total over 1,000. 

Most of the sentence reductions were for nonviolent drug offenders. 342 had life sentences and would have died behind bars. 

In his 2015 speech, Obama explained, "Their punishments didn't fit the crime, and if they'd been sentenced under today's laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time."

The Obama administration has ramped up its processing of clemency petitions in recent months, and the Department of Justice will continue to make commutation recommendations until the end of the year.

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