President Obama commuted 111 more sentences on Tuesday, adding to the 325 he has already commuted this month. As the end of his term nears, there have been over 11,000 requests for commutation for the administration.
Most of the clemencies are for non-violent drug offenders. Sentences for drug crimes have been reduced since the so called "War on Drugs" in the 1980s and 1990s. Amongst the offenses, almost a 1/3rd of them were serving life sentences, primarily for non violent offenses.
Civil rights and criminal justice advocates have encouraged the President to increase the rate at which he commutes sentences and grants clemency to non-violent offenders. Congress attempted to make a bipartisan effort to reform the justice system, but the efforts largely stalled before their 7 week recess at the beginning of July.
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston explained the decision on his blog, saying:
"As successful as we’ve been in reducing crime in this country, the extraordinary rate of incarceration of nonviolent offenders has created its own set of problems that are devastating...Entire communities have been ravaged where largely men, but some women, are taken out of those communities. Kids are now growing up without parents It perpetuates a cycle of poverty and disorder in their lives. It is disproportionately young men of color that are being arrested at higher rates, charged and convicted at higher rates, and imprisoned for longer sentences" -Neil Eggleston