WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 42 prisoners on Friday, adding to his historic total.
With his most recent wave of commutations President Obama has commuted a total of 348 prisoners during his time in office, more than the past seven presidents combined.
On Friday, the president continued his commitment to using his clemency power to give prisoners facing "utdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws" a second chance.
"The individuals receiving a presidential commutation today have more than repaid their debt to society and earned this second chance," White House Counsel to the President Neil Eggleston wrote in a blog post.
According to The Hill, most of the people who were commuted on Friday will be released on Oct. 1, while some will be released in June.
About 20 of the 42 people were serving life sentences, mostly stemming from convictions possession and distribution of crack or cocaine.
Obama said he plans to continue to exercise his power of clemency to grant commutations throughout his final months in office, but Eggleston stressed the importance of passing legislation to change sentencing practices.
"Here remain thousands of men and women in federal prison serving sentences longer than necessary, often due to overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences," he wrote. "That is one reason it is critical that both the House and the Senate continue to cooperate on a bipartisan basis to get a criminal justice reform bill to the president's desk."