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President Barack Obama gestures while answering question during his news conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama has now commuted 1,023 sentences during his two terms in office


President Barack Obama granted 79 more commutations to federal drug offenders Tuesday. 

With Tuesday's commutations, Obama has granted clemency to 1,023 federal inmates during his two terms in office. That's more than all the past 11 presidents combined. 

Of those granted clemency under Obama, 342 were serving life sentences, according to a White House press release

Might not be done yet

Obama has also granted 70 pardons and has said he is committed to exercising his power to grant clemency throughout the remainder of his presidency. 

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston told Reuters that the majority of the federal inmates who were granted clemency have served longer sentences than they would have received if they committed the exact same crime under current drug laws. Eggleston added that he anticipates additional grants before Obama leaves office. 

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told The Hill that the Department of Justice had about 6,300 petitions from non-violent drug offenders at the end of August and right now the agency is on track to make recommendations on each before Obama leaves office. 

Not serving taxpayers, public safety

Obama posted the story of a non-violent drug offender to his Facebook page Monday afternoon, saying her story should serve as a reminder that everyone makes mistakes.

"It makes no sense for a nonviolent drug offender to be serving decades, or sometimes life, in prison," Obama wrote on Facebook. "That’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not serving the public safety. Instead, it burdens our already overcrowded prisons."

It's unclear whether Donald Trump will continue Obama's clemency initiative. 

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