President Barack Obama in 2011
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House announced Friday that President Barack Obama has granted clemency to 42 individuals. About half of the individuals whose sentences were commuted were serving life sentences, most for drug charges. The president has long been critical of overly harsh penalties for nonviolent drug offenses and an advocate for criminal-justice reform

Obama has now commuted sentences for 348 people, more than the total amount of the previous seven presidents combined.


The president is clear, however, that comprehensive reform cannot come about solely through the executive branch.

“Despite these important efforts, only legislation can bring about lasting change to the federal system,” the White House said. “There remain thousands of men and women in federal prison serving sentences longer than necessary, often due to overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences. 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.”

For a list of the individuals and their charges, click here.

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