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Obama commutes prison terms of 79 more people to reach total of 1,023

By Doug G. Ware
Obama commutes prison terms of 79 more people to reach total of 1,023
President Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentences of 1,023 inmates since taking office, the White House said Tuesday -- more than the last 11 U.S. presidents combined. The commutations are part of the administration's Second Chance initiative and aim for criminal justice reform. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentences of 79 more people -- bringing his grand total to more than a thousand, the White House said Tuesday.

Obama has been commuting sentences for months, believing many U.S. inmates are serving inappropriately long terms for nonviolent crimes, typically drug offenses.

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The commutations are part of Obama's Second Chance initiative, which has now commuted sentences for 1,023 individuals -- and the president is expected to grant more in the remaining weeks of his administration.

RELATED Nov. 4: Obama commutes sentences for 72 more inmates, brings total to 944

Obama last commuted 72 sentences on Nov. 4.

"The President has now commuted the sentences of 1,023 men and women incarcerated under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws, including 342 individuals who were serving life sentences," the White House said Tuesday.

"He has been committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy the unfairness at the heart of the system -- including the presidential power to grant clemency," it added.

RELATED October: Obama commutes 98 more prison sentences, most for drug offenses

Obama has granted more commutations for prisoners than the past 11 presidents combined.

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"He has also granted 70 pardons and is committed to continuing to exercise the clemency power with additional grants of commutations and pardons throughout the remainder of his presidency," the White House noted.

Obama's administration emphasized that the commutations have been part of its aim to reform the American criminal justice system.

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