Massachusetts residents may be surprised to learn that President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of more federal prisoners than the last nine chief executives combined. The White House announced on Nov. 22 that Obama had commuted the sentences of a further 79 nonviolent drug offenders, which brings his total commutations since taking office to more than 1,000.
Political and legal observers say that the president may be stepping up his efforts in this area due to the results of the November general election. President-elect Donald Trump vowed to be a strong advocate for law and order during a contentious campaign, and few observers expect him to continue Obama's push to mitigate the effects of what many experts see as unnecessarily harsh and discriminatory mandatory minimum sentencing laws. However, not all of those calling for criminal justice reform are happy with the way that Obama has handled the issue.