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Obama cuts sentences of 111 federal inmates, commutes more sentences than past 10 presidents combined

WASHINGTON — President Obama commuted the sentences of 111 federal inmates convicted of drug offenses on Monday.

He has now commuted the sentences of more people than the past 10 presidents combined, according to the White House.

“We must remember that these are individuals – sons, daughters, parents and in many cases, grandparents – who have taken steps toward rehabilitation and who have earned their second chance,” said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston. “They are individuals who received unduly harsh sentences under outdated laws for committing largely nonviolent drug crimes, for example, the 35 individuals whose life sentences were commuted today.”

President Obama previously cut the prison sentences of 214 people on Aug. 3, the most commutations ever granted in a single day. A total of 325 prisoners have had their sentences commuted this month alone.

Obama has granted 673 commutations over the course of his presidency. In each instance, he considered the individual merits of each application, Eggleston said.

The White House posted a letter Obama wrote to one of the prisoners who had his sentence commuted in 2015.

“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” Obama wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices.”