U.S. President Barack Obama shortened the prison sentences for 98 convicts serving time for drug-related offenses in his latest round of commutations, including for 42 people serving life sentences, the White House said on Thursday.
Obama has granted 688 commutations this year, for a total so far of 872 during his presidency, which ends on Jan. 20.
“These are individuals – many of whom made mistakes at a young age – who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement.
The commutations are part of Obama’s push to reform the criminal justice system to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
Obama and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Congress had tried to work on legislation to reduce mandatory minimum sentences, but those efforts stalled ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Clinton, Michelle Obama make first joint campaign appearance in bid for women’s support
Although Michelle Obama was critical of Clinton during the hard-fought 2008 Democratic nominating race, any trace of bitterness appeared long behind them. The two women showed an easy rapport. They embraced and smiled. Obama called Clinton “my girl” and made a point of telling the crowd they were tight.
“If people wonder: Yes, Hillary Clinton is my friend,” she said.
Clinton promised to take good care of Obama’s White House vegetable garden if she won and wistfully praised the athletic first lady’s dancing skills. “If only,” Clinton said.
She also lauded Obama’s work for children and military families and in what was perhaps a nod to African-Americans she hopes will vote for her in the state, said Obama had faced challenges she had not as a presidential spouse.
“Let’s be real. As our first African-American first lady, she’s faced pressures I never did, and she’s handled them with pure grace,” Clinton said to applause.
Although a sometimes reluctant campaigner, the first lady has thrown herself into the race, and the Clinton campaign has deployed her strategically to increase support among young people and blacks, with whom she is especially popular.
Trump made an appearance in the vital battleground of Ohio, hammering Clinton as corrupt. He said recent emails published by WikiLeaks highlighted how a close Bill Clinton aide helped the couple rake in millions.
“The more emails WikiLeaks releases, the more the lines between the Clinton Foundation, the secretary of state’s office, and the Clintons’ personal finances are blurred,” Trump told thousands of supporters who jammed a livestock arena in Springfield.
He cited a 2011 memo from former Bill Clinton aide Doug Band bragging that he had funneled tens of millions of dollars to “Bill Clinton Inc.”
“Mr. Band called the arrangement ‘unorthodox,” Trump said. “The rest of us call it outright corrupt.”
Other hacked emails released by WikiLeaks show Chelsea Clinton deeply concerned that Band and other Bill Clinton aides were “hustling” for business that year for their new consultancy firm, Teneo, at the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation’s glitzy event that brings together companies, government officials and non-profit groups.
WikiLeaks has been publishing thousands of emails this month that were stolen from the account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.