By Patrick J. BuchananThe Post columnistJune 16, 2017 1:03:24When President Barack Obama announced last week that he had commuted the sentences of more than 100 federal prisoners, his administration had not yet determined how many would face life in prison for crimes they did not commit.
But the White House has announced that the prisoners released on Tuesday would be eligible for parole in the years ahead.
The release of the remaining prisoners will make Obama’s record on commutations even stronger.
While President George W. Bush had commutations for more than 3,000 prisoners in the first term of his presidency, there have been only four so far this term, according to figures compiled by the Justice Department.
The remaining prisoners are scheduled to be released on June 24.
Among those being released are former Marine and Green Beret David H. Burwell, a retired Navy SEAL and a Marine Corps veteran, and two other men convicted in the killing of former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Burwell’s release is an important symbolic moment, and a sign of hope for a new era of justice and fairness for former prisoners.
President Obama has long advocated for the release of prisoners, particularly those convicted of serious crimes, and it is not hard to see why.
A growing number of Americans now believe that a major public health crisis, like the one that brought about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, is occurring in their communities.
The public is increasingly demanding that government leaders do more to prevent terrorist attacks, and in response, the Justice and Homeland Security Departments have been working to change the laws that govern the release and reentry of prisoners.
The Bush administration used its pardon power to pardon people convicted of crimes committed while in the armed forces or on the battlefield.
The law gave the president the power to commute their sentences in the event they committed an offense while serving in the military or deployed overseas.
The law was revised in 2013 to require the president to issue an executive order to make such a commutation request, but Congress was reluctant to pass legislation that would impose such a high administrative burden on the president.
Since 2013, when the president issued his executive order, the president has granted more than 600 commutations.
The Obama administration has also issued more than 1,200 pardons, mostly for people who were convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.
In contrast, the Bush administration only issued 1,000 commutations and the Bush Justice Department issued more commutations than any other administration since 9/11.
As of May, the White Houses commutations force the government to pay out more than $5.5 billion, and the cost is expected to rise as the remaining cases are reviewed.
That number is expected even higher with the new cases being reviewed and approved by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the U,S.
Courts, the Supreme Court, and Congress.
It is unclear whether the Obama administration will be able to make more commutation requests this year, because it has not released the details of all the cases it is considering.
If it does, the numbers will likely continue to rise.
President Trump, who is set to leave office next month, has repeatedly commuted sentences of nonviolent offenders, but he is not expected to do so until he leaves office in 2021.
He will have a longer record to work with when he leaves, but the Justice Departments is also expected to be in a better position to handle those cases.
The U.N. and human rights groups are already pushing the White the Justice Dept. to change its practice of offering pardons to people who commit nonviolent crimes.
President Trump has pledged to do this, but his administration has not yet made a commitment.
In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the administration’s refusal to release the information about the number of people it has pardoned should be cause for concern.
“The White House should immediately release the data on the number, how many of those people were convicted and sentenced for nonviolent offenses, and what percentage of those cases are in which they were given commutations,” said Omar Jadwat, senior policy counsel at the ACLU.
The ACLU’s data show that the Justice department has issued only one pardon of a nonviolent offender this year.
The previous record holder was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who granted an average of 4.8 pardons each month in 2001.
The ACLU’s calculations show that Nixon commuted about 3,600 pardons annually, and George W., Bush, and Clinton each pardoned about 2,700 prisoners each month.
The number of commutations granted in 2017 was the lowest in at least a decade.
The Obama administration was granted more pardons than any previous administration except for Nixon in 2008 and 2001, when presidents pardoned only about 400 people each month, according the ACLU’s database.