President Obama continued his attempt to reverse the consequences of the "War on Drugs" from the 1980s to early 2000s, commuting the sentences of 214 inmates Wednesday. TheHill reported that of the 200 sentences, 67 of those sentences were life sentences, primarily for non-violent drug related offenses. The official blog of White House Counsel Neil Eggleston noted:
"To date, President Obama has granted 562 commutations: more commutations than the previous nine presidents combined and more commutations than any individual president in nearly a century. Of those, 197 individuals were serving life sentences. And, today’s 214 grants of commutation also represent the most grants in a single day since at least 1900. That being said, our work is far from finished. I expect the President will continue to grant clemency in a historic and inspiring fashion. "
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. According to Eggleston:
"While we continue to work to act on as many clemency applications as possible, only legislation can bring about lasting change to the federal system. It is critical that both the House and the Senate continue to work on a bipartisan basis to get a criminal justice reform bill to the President's desk"