President Obama on Friday granted Christmastime commutations to a record 95 federal prisoners — including 40 who had been serving life sentences, mostly for crack and cocaine crimes.
Almost all of those being freed are nonviolent drug offenders who behaved well in prison and who would have received shorter sentences under current rules, officials said.
The commutations, which Obama signed before his year-end news conference Friday, are the most any president has issued at one time and are part of a continuing White House effort to rethink harsh and expensive mandatory sentences for thousands of nonviolent drug offenders.
With one year left in his presidency, Obama has now commuted the sentences of 184 prisoners, more than any president since Lyndon Johnson, who granted clemency to 226.
The only New York state resident on the clemency list is Ramona Brant, 52, of Freeport, LI.
The mother of two had been serving a life sentence since 1995 for conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
“It’s the best news,” her eldest son, Barber, 25, who was 4 when his mother was imprisoned, told Newsday.
“I can’t stop smiling. I’m so excited.”