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President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama pardoned 78 and shortened sentences for 153 in a final clemency push


President Barack Obama pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentence of another 153 convicted federal offenders Monday in a final clemency push before he leaves office in January. 

That's the highest number of individual clemencies granted by any president in a single day. 

With Monday's commutations, the President has commuted the sentences of a total of 1,176 individuals. That number includes 395 life sentences, according to a release from the White House. 

The 231 individuals granted clemency today have all demonstrated that they are ready to make use or have already made use of a second chance.
The White House

Obama has been granting commutations during his final months in office. However, he has focused more on shortening sentences than granting pardons.

A pardon essentially grants a person forgiveness for a crime and restores their right to vote. 

"For the pardon recipient, it is the story of an individual who has led a productive and law-abiding post-conviction life, including by contributing to the community in a meaningful way," White House Counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in a blog post. "For the commutation recipient, it is the story of an individual who has made the most of his or her time in prison, by participating in educational courses, vocational training, and drug treatment." 

Eggleston explained that Obama's actions show his belief that America is a nation of second chances. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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