WASHINGTON ― President Barack Obama granted clemency to 79 federal inmates on Tuesday, meaning he has given commutations to more than 1,000 individuals over the course of his presidency.
Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, said Obama will continue to grant clemency throughout the remainder of his time in office. “I think you can anticipate that we will keep going until the end,” he said.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said it was important to remember that there are stories behind each of those 1,023 names.
“There are 1,000 lives behind that number,” she said.
“While we’re really proud of the progress that we’ve made so far, as I’ve said before, our work is still not done,” Yates said. “We’re going to continue to make recommendations on clemency applications until the end of the administration, fulfilling the goals that we set out more than two and a half years ago.”
While Obama’s numbers are record-setting, his clemency initiative has affected just a small portion of the overall federal prison population. There are now more than 191,000 federal inmates, roughly the same number there were a decade ago in 2006.
Former federal prisoner Norman Brown, who has spoken with The Huffington Post about his transition to life outside confinement, joined a White House call announcing the new clemency grants.
Eggleston emphasized the importance of the individuals involved.
“For me, and for the president as well, the stories of individual commutation recipients are deeply affecting,” he said. “Those stories show what people can achieve when given a second chance.”
This was updated with more about the administration’s plans to continue granting clemency.