Before orange-elect Donald Trump officially takes office in January, Barack Obama is tying up as many loose ends as possible, which includes granting clemency to 79 additional federal inmates as part of the administration’s efforts to relieve nonviolent drug offenders.
This latest round brings Obama’s total unprecedented amount of commutations—which shortens an inmate’s legal sentence—to over 1,000 since 2014. For obvious reasons, time is of the essence. The Washington Post reports that “administration officials are moving quickly to rule on all the pending clemency applications from inmates before the end of the year. The Trump administration is not expected to keep in place Obama’s initiative to provide relief to non-violent drug offenders.”
While the Justice Department has reportedly pushed to grant further clemencies while Obama still has the power, nerves are setting in all around with each passing moment.
“At the risk of sounding ungrateful, we say, ‘thanks, but please hurry,’” Kevin Ring, VP of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, told the Post. “We know there are thousands more who received outdated and excessive mandatory sentences and we think they all deserve to have their petitions considered before the president leaves office.”
As USA Today noted in October, Obama has “also been quietly denying a record number of commutations at the same time — a function of the unprecedented number of applications submitted through the clemency initiative.”