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Obama shortens sentences of 102 drug offenders

US President Barack Obama shortened the prison sentences for 102 convicts serving time for drug-related offenses in his latest round of commutations, the White House said on Thursday.

Obama has now granted a total of 774 commutations during his presidency, which ends on Jan. 20, as part of his push to reform the criminal justice system to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. Obama had hoped to work with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US Congress on legislation to reduce mandatory minimum sentences, but those efforts have stalled ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“Only the passage of legislation can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement. Eggleston said Obama has commuted more sentences than the previous 11 presidents combined – and more this year than in any other single year in US history. (Reuters)