Obama hits 1,000 mark for commutations granted

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Detroit. During an interview with Politico posted on its website Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, Obama was extremely cautious in discussing the presidential campaign to avoid showing explicit favor in the Democratic race. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Detroit. During an interview with Politico posted on its website Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, Obama was extremely cautious in discussing the presidential campaign to avoid showing explicit favor in the Democratic race. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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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