Outgoing US President Barack Obama has said that he is “proud” to cut short the sentences of as many as 330 federal inmates convicted of drug crimes, arguing that they deserved a second chance.
“Proud to make this one of my final actions as President. America is a nation of second chances, and 1,715 people deserved that shot,” Obama wrote in tweet yesterday.
With this, the total number of commutation by him stands at 1,715, highest by a US President the history, the White House said.
“The vast majority of these men and women are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes,” White House counsel Neil Eggleston said.
“He saw the injustice of the sentences that were imposed in many situations, and he has a strong view that people deserve a second chance,” he said.
In a surprise move on Tuesday, Obama cut short the 35-year sentence of Chelsea Manning, a transgender solider convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The decision was slammed by President-elect Donald Trump’s Republican party.
Later, Obama defended it arguing that she has served a tough jail term.
“Let’s be clear, Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence. So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital, classified information would think that it goes unpunished I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served,” Obama told reporters at his final news conference on Wednesday.