Sources at the Department of Justice say President Obama commuted the sentences of 111 non-violent offenders Tuesday (Aug. 30), 35 of which received life sentences for their crimes.
The new batch of inmates given a second chance have provided a sense of hope to the countless lawyers at the DOJ who have gone through many files to determine eligible applicants. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates tells NPR they’re certain they’ll be able to examine the back log of applicants before Obama leaves office in January 2017.
“At our current pace, we are confident that we will be able to review and make a recommendation to the president on every single drug petition we currently have,” Yates said.
The early releases are for mostly non-violent drug offenders who would receive lighter sentencing if they were convicted now. The new commuted sentences means the Obama administration has granted 673 commutations, more than the last 10 presidents combined. Tuesday’s grant also follows 214 more earlier this month.
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said the president gives each case special attention. He looks through their record, takes into account their behavior behind bars and tries his best to examine whether or not they truly deserve a second chance. Eggleston says the president isn’t looking to try and achieve a certain number of cases, more so give second chances to the right cases.
“The president’s view is that he would like to grant as many worthy petitions as get to his desk and I think he’s going to tell me to put worthy petitions on his desk until the last day, and that’s what I intend to do,” Eggleston said.