Word around town is that President Obama plans to issue orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up on nonviolent drug offenses in a few weeks!
According to NYTimes, Obama’s clemency is a part of a broader effort to correct what he sees as the “excesses of the past, when politicians eager to be tough on crime threw away the key for minor criminals.” Many Republicans are standing with Obama and other Democrats in agreeance that the nation has gone too far thus making it that much easier for Obama to unlock that prison door.
It’s not as simple as putting a literal key to a lock, however. More than 30,000 federal inmates have submitted call for clemency applications. A review process has already begun but only has advanced a small fraction of them to the president’s desk for a signature.
“I think they honestly want to address some of the people who have been over-sentenced in the last 30 years,” said Julie Stewart, the president and founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, “I’m not sure they envisioned that it would be as complicated as it is, but it has become more complicated, whether it needs to be or not, and that’s what has bogged down the process.”
Fortunately, this clemency offer has become a bipartisan venture and NYTimes says that lawmakers from both parties are collaborating on legislation.
Furthermore, the United States Sentencing Commission has revised guidelines for drug offenders, so far possibly reducing sentences for more than 9,500 inmates. Nearly three-quarters of those are black or Hispanic.
Let’s chat below, what do you think about the President’s new plans?
TSR Intern: Chantel P. Instagram: @_POPchanny | Twitter: @POPchanny