President Obama has granted clemency to another 102 prisoners, bringing the total to 774 overall. From CNN:
Just in the past year, Obama has granted clemency to 590 prisoners — the most commutations in any single year of US history…
Among the inmates whose clemency requests were approved by the President on Thursday: David Fitzgerald Lightner, serving a life sentence since 1994 for drug-related charges in North Carolina. His sentence is now set to expire in one year.
Of the 102 cases announced Thursday, 34 were life sentences that were shortened. And with the president granting so many reprieves, the number of requests is up sharply:
The Justice Department has seen an influx of clemency applications as more inmates learn of Obama’s drive to reduce harsh sentences. The agency has worked to reduce a massive backlog, though the mountain of requests has only grown as the President nears the end of his term…
Requests have increased sharply, jumping from 3,000 applications in fiscal year 2015 to almost 9,000 requests in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2016 — an increase of almost 200%.
Not all of these applicants will receive clemency, but according to White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, every application will be reviewed before Obama leaves office. The president is personally reviewing the cases and is said to be basing his decision on changes in sentencing guidelines but also a sense of who might deserve a second chance.
CNN cites lawyers familiar with the situation who suggest around 1,500 of the applicants would be eligible for clemency under the White House’s guidelines. If so that means President Obama might be a little more than halfway through this process.
This CNN video is about Sharanda Jones, a previous recipient of clemency:
The White House has also created videos on other clemency recipients: