On his last day in office, President Obama granted 330 commutations. This will allow many drug offenders a lesser sentence. During the last eight years, Obama shortened 1,715 sentences, including 568 of whom were sentenced to life.
In a letter to the recipients the outgoing President said he believed they had the opportunity right now to do what is right.
"I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change... remember that you have the capacity to make good decisions."
According to officials at the White House, this was the most commutations done in a single day by a sitting President. White House counsel Neil Eggleston said this comes as Obama worked on lessening harsh sentences.
"The vast majority of these men and women are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes... He has a strong view that people deserve a second chance." For an inmate to be considered under Obama, they needed to demonstrate good behavior, already served 10 years, have a nonviolent offense. However, some exceptions were made for the 10-year-rule and there were some firearm violations in relation to the drug crimes.
During his final press conference Wednesday afternoon, Obama discussed the role of voting and how the United States should make it easier to vote. He blames the Jim Crow era, saying the reason for the low turnout is because many Americans are eligible to vote who don't go to the polls. "It became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise... The idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn't make sense."
You can read his entire last speech here.
President-Elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated at noon on Friday, January 20th. Close to 60 Democrats will be boycotting the event for Trump's word to Civil Rights Icon and Representative John Lewis.
Trump has been having close door meetings with a number of people ahead of his inauguration including Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King III.
What do you take away from Obama's final gesture in office? Comment below and tell us.