The VICE Guide to Right Now

Obama Shortened the Sentences of 95 Prisoners Today

Most of them are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses.

by VICE Staff
Dec 18 2015, 10:48pm

Photo by Matthew Leifheit

Read: Fixing the System: An Interview with President Obama on Prison Reform

Just before President Obama's year-end news conference, the White House announced that he commuted the sentences of 95 prisoners on Friday, including 40 serving life sentences. The president also granted pardons for two other prisoners doing time for counterfeiting and bank fraud, as USA TODAY reports.

The majority of the offenders commuted were convicted of nonviolent drug-related offenses. In July, the president shortened the sentences of 46 others who fell prey to the War on Drugs. At the time, he said in a speech that outdated drug policy—and mandatory minimum sentences—were a "primary driver of this mass incarceration" and suggested the country "reconsider whether 20-year, 30-year, life sentences for nonviolent crimes is the best way for us to solve these problems."

The commutations granted Friday bring Obama's tally up to 184, higher than the total number of commutations granted by the past five presidents combined, according to the White House.

president obama
Nonviolent drug offenders