Criminal Justice

Obama grants 78 pardons and 153 commutations, setting one-day record

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President Barack Obama.

Photo of President Barack Obama by Evan El-Amin /

President Barack Obama on Monday pardoned 78 people and commuted the sentences of 153 others.

During his time in office, Obama has pardoned a total of 148 people and commuted the sentences of 1,176 federal inmates, report the Washington Post and USA Today. The grant of clemency to 231 people is the most made in a single day by any U.S. president, the Hill reports.

Among the 153 commutations, 82 were supported by Clemency Project 2014, which has enlisted volunteer lawyers to help prisoners submit clemency petitions. A press release is here. The ABA is among five groups involved in the effort.

Overall, Obama has issued more grants of clemency than any U.S. president, according to the Hill. But the number of pardons he has granted is less than any other modern president except former President George H.W. Bush, according to USA Today.

Obama’s White House counsel, Neil Eggleston, expects Obama to grant more pardons and commutations before leaving office, according to his post at the White House Blog.

“The mercy that the president has shown his 1,324 clemency recipients is remarkable,” Eggleston writes, “but we must remember that clemency is a tool of last resort and that only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure over the long run that our criminal justice system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.”

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