President Obama is continuing his efforts to grant clemency to as many wrongly convicted felons as possible before he leaves office in January 2017.
On November 22, Obama commuted the sentences of 79 more inmates, bringing the total number of releases he’s called for to 351 since October of this year.
“We have two months left before the inauguration…I anticipate we will keep going until the end,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said of the priority the Obama Administration has for the commutation of dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands more wrongly convicted non-violent felons.
According to VladTV, the Department of Justice is said to be considering approximately 6,300 petitions submitted by non-violent criminals since August 31. One week ago the DOJ reported having received a petition listing 2 million signatures, from the family members of many inmates calling for the administration to speed up its clemency motion.
Approximately 1,023 inmates have had their sentences shortened since Obama took office in 2008, which is more than the previous 11 presidents commuted combined.
Documentaries like Ava Duvernay’s “13TH” have helped educate many on the horrors behind mass incarceration in America, and the injustices many face once released from prison.
Many of those granted clemency by President Obama were serving long sentences for low-level drug offenses, under what are now considered to be ineffective policies from past administrations.
However, despite granting clemency to over 1,000 former inmates serving life sentences, President Obama is being urged by some of those granted clemency to grant even more clemency to inmates who will most likely die in prison if not released before Obama leaves office.
According to HuffingtonPost, a group of former federal prisoners who had their sentences commuted by President Barack Obama are urging the president to do as much as he can for other drug defendants before the end of his presidency.
The initiative #cut50, which aims to reduce the U.S. prison population by 50 percent, held several events last week in support of its #ClemencyNOW campaign, which seeks to encourage Obama to grant an “unprecedented” number of clemencies before President-elect Donald Trump take office in January. The group held a vigil in front of the White House and delivered petitions to the Justice Department in support of the initiative.
The Huffington Post interviewed Sharanda Jones, Kenneth Kemp and Jason Hernandez, who spoke about the message they want Obama to hear now.
“Whoever is in there come Jan. 20, if they’re still in there, they haven’t received clemency, they’re probably going to die in there. You’re their last hope,” Hernandez said.
Watch the interview with Hernandez and Brittany Byrd, the campaign director for #ClemencyNOW on HuffPost