President Obama Announces 61 New Commutations

Total for his administration: 248.


Today the White House announced a new round of commutations for people in federal prison serving harsh sentences. Today adds 61 new commutations to a grand total of 248.

The Washington Post has a full list of each of the 61 people granted commutations and the crimes for which they were convicted and their sentences. Here's a sample:

Ismael Rosa – Chicago, IL
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine (four counts); use of communication facility in commission of drug offense (two counts); Northern District of Illinois
Sentence: Life imprisonment (August 8, 1995)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on March 30, 2017.

Every single person on the list is on there for a drug-related crime, typically involving some sort of intent to distribute. Some also had weapon-related charges attached but were not convicted of any sort of violence; we're talking crimes like being a felon in possession of a weapon.

The White House is making a big deal over the fact that Obama has commuted more people than previous presidents. They even provide a chart:

White House

But as Reason's Jacob Sullum has noted, the number of commutations absolutely pale when compared to the number of people begging for mercy from the administration and the "thousands" of commutations the administration had expected to achieve by the time Obama left office. Read Sullum's analysis of the last round of commutation announcements here and how the Department of Justice is blaming volunteer lawyers for the fact that the numbers aren't higher here