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Obama shortens prison sentences for 61 drug offenders

President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall at McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, La., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. After giving his State of the Union address, the president is traveling to tout progress and goals in his final year in... (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is commuting the prison sentences of 61 people serving time for drug-related offenses.

White House counsel Neil Eggleston says more than a third of the inmates were serving life sentences. Obama's commutation shortens their sentences. Most will be released July 28.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations.

The commutations bring to 248 the number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted. The White House says that's more than the past six presidents combined.

Obama will meet Wednesday with people whose sentences were previously commuted under Obama or under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The White House says they'll discuss re-entering society after incarceration.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)