<p>President Obama has shortened prison sentences for&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/clemency" target="_blank">more inmates</a>&nbsp;than all of his 11 predecessors — combined.&nbsp;</p><p>In a speech last year, Obama said: &quot;But I believe that, at its heart, America is a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.&quot;</p><p><b>SEE MORE: <a href="http://www.newsy.com/videos/recordings-give-victims-of-police-brutality-a-better-chance-at-justice/">Recordings Give Victims Of Police Brutality A Better Chance At Justice</a></b></p><p>As part of his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/criminal-justice-reform" target="_blank">effort to reform</a>&nbsp;the criminal justice system,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-grants-79-more-commutations-to-federal-inmates-pushing-the-total-past-1000/2016/11/22/1c7b5710-b0db-11e6-840f-e3ebab6bcdd3_story.html" target="_blank">Obama commuted</a>&nbsp;79 federal prison sentences Tuesday. That pushes his total over 1,000.&nbsp;</p><p>Most of the sentence reductions were for nonviolent drug offenders. 342 had&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">life sentences</a>&nbsp;and would have died behind bars.&nbsp;</p><p>In his 2015 speech, Obama explained, &quot;Their punishments didn&#39;t fit the crime, and if they&#39;d been sentenced under today&#39;s laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time.&quot;</p><p>The Obama administration has ramped up its processing of clemency petitions in recent months, and the Department of Justice will continue to make commutation recommendations until the end of the year.</p><hr><b>Trending stories at <a href="http://www.newsy.com">Newsy.com</a></b><ul class="inline-related-links"><li><a href="http://www.newsy.com/videos/trump-s-ag-pick-jeff-sessions-could-crack-down-on-marijuana/">Why The Legal Pot Industry Is Afraid Of Jeff Sessions</a></li><li><a href="http://www.newsy.com/videos/trump-won-t-push-for-clinton-investigations-after-all/">Trump Won&#039;t Push For Clinton Investigations After All</a></li><li><a href="http://www.newsy.com/videos/white-nationalists-may-find-a-home-under-trump-presidency/">White Nationalists May Find A Home Under Trump Presidency</a></li></ul>
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has surpassed the 1,000 mark for commutations granted during his presidency after shortening sentences for 79 people.
Obama has been granting commutations at rapid-fire pace in his final months in office. The White House says he's commuted more sentences than the past 11 presidents combined.
Most of those who have received clemency are nonviolent drug offenders, though many were also convicted of firearms violations related to drug crimes.
Obama says "it makes no sense" for nonviolent drug offenders to serve decades in prison or life sentences. He says it burdens taxpayers and overcrowded prisons without benefiting public safety.
Obama is calling for a criminal justice overhaul to address overly onerous sentencing and other problems. Congress has shown bipartisan interest but hasn't acted on those reforms.
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