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Obama Orders 98 Prisoner Releases, Most Set Free Over a Year

  • Pace of commutations increases as president’s term winds down
  • Obama’s clemency efforts provoke complaints on right and left
President Barack Obama waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Oct. 11, 2016.

President Barack Obama waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Oct. 11, 2016.

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President Barack Obama has now ordered more prisoners released early from federal penitentiaries in a single year than any of his predecessors, after commuting the sentences of 98 people on Thursday.

The announcement of the release of mostly non-violent drug offenders brings to 872 the number of people whose sentences Obama has shortened, with clemency granted to 688 people this year alone. That’s more than the past 11 presidents combined.