clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Obama just shortened as many prison sentences at once as he’d done his whole presidency

Pool/Getty Images

  1. On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 22 prisoners who were convicted of federal nonviolent drug offenses, doubling the number of commutations he's issued since taking office, according to the Huffington Post.
  2. commutation reduces the length of a prison sentence, though it doesn't wipe it off the books. These prisoners will now be released on July 28.
  3. Eight of the prisoners whose sentences were commuted today were originally sentenced to serve life in prison.
  4. All of these prisoners would have received shorter sentences if they were convicted today, thanks to changes in sentencing laws and in the federal guidelines for prison sentences. The Obama administration has been making an effort to consider pardons or commutations for prisoners who are serving "outdated" sentences.
  5. Despite the administration's efforts, and those of the advocacy group Clemency Project 2014 (which has been preparing applications for federal prisoners), the Obama administration had only commuted 21 sentences before Tuesday.
  6. Obama has now commuted more than four times as many sentences as George W. Bush did; however, Bush pardoned many more former prisoners than Obama has.

WATCH: 'The racism of the US criminal justice system'

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.