Obama issues record-breaking 214 commutations

The early release of the 214 prisoners — most convicted of low-level drug offenses — is part of Obama’s effort to correct what he views as unreasonably long mandatory minimum sentences. The longest: Richard L. Reser of Sedgwick, Kan., who was given a 40-year sentence for dealing methamphatamine and firearm possession. He’ll be released Dec. 1.

“The more we understand the human stories behind this problem, the sooner we can start making real changes that keep our streets safe, break the cycle of incarceration in this country, and save taxpayers like you money,” Obama said in a Facebook post.

The president’s clemency power usually takes one of two forms: Pardons, which give offenders a full legal forgiveness for their crimes, and commutations, which shorten prison sentences but often leave other conditions intact. Many of those granted commutations Wednesday will continue to have supervised release.