Former President Barack Obama commuted hundreds of prison sentences in his final days in office. His 1,927 grants of various kinds of clemency were a new record high in U.S. history. They were also a near-historic low when considered in proportion to the number of requests he solicited and received. Where presidents in the first half of the 20th century granted about one in three pleas for clemency, Obama approved one in 20 of the more than 35,000 petitions that deluged his office. He also followed the practice of presidents in the last half-century of backloading approvals to the very end of his term, presumably to avoid political blowback while it still mattered.
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