President Obama has granted commutations to another 79 federal drug offenders, pushing the number of inmates who have received clemency from him past 1,000, the Washington Post reports. Administration officials are moving quickly to rule on all the pending clemency applications from inmates before the end of the year. The Trump administration is not expected to keep in place Obama’s initiative to provide relief to nonviolent drug offenders. The White House and Justice Department have been criticized by sentencing reform advocates for moving slowly in granting commutations to inmates serving harsh sentences who met the criteria for clemency. The administration has picked up the pace, but advocates want them to move faster before time runs out.
“At the risk of sounding ungrateful, we say, “thanks, but please hurry,” said Kevin Ring of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “We know there are thousands more who received outdated and excessive mandatory sentences and we think they all deserve to have their petitions considered before the president leaves office. Petitioners are starting to get anxious because they know the president is, in prison parlance, a short-timer.” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said the Justice Department will continue to recommend more commutations through the end of the Obama administration.