New Obama Clemency Standards Could Free Thousands Of Drug Offenders (VIDEO)

Published On April 21, 2014 | By james |


On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney indicated the Obama administration is stepping up efforts to consider clemency for hundreds – if not thousands – of people that are currently incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses, saying the President;

“…has asked the Justice Department to set up a process to ensure that anyone who has a good case for commutation has their application seen and evaluated…The president believes that everyone should have a fair shot under the system for consideration “

Late last year, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report titled “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses” that revealed that there are currently 3,278 prisoners serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for nonviolent offenses in the United States – almost 80% of those for drug-related crimes such as possession or distribution.

A CBS News report noted the small fraction of pardons that President Obama has granted – “just 52 of the 1,600 pardon requests he’s received and just nine out of 10,000 commutation requests to reduce a sentence.”

In a video also released Monday on the Justice Department website, United States Attorney General Eric Holder – calling the old guidelines “profoundly out of date” – outlined the new, broader criteria the DOJ will use to review future applications for clemency, saying;

“As a society, we pay much too high a price whenever our system fails to deliver the just outcomes necessary to deter and punish crime, to keep us safe, and to ensure that those who have paid their debts have a chance to become productive citizens.”

Watch via the Department of Justice;

Photo Credit: The New Yorker


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  • Marvin Gardens

    It’s time for victims of the drug war to be talking “restitution.” The government owes that class of people billions upon billions upon billions of dollars.

  • modera8

    I’m conflicted on this one. Drugs can destroy lives and encourage people to turn to crime to feed their addictions (to get money to buy more drugs, I think), not sure if decriminalization would change that or not. The vast majority of the addicts I’ve known haven’t been able to hold down jobs. Then there’s the danger of overdosing, kids getting a hold of them without realizing what they are, etc. I typically support President Obama, but on this one I think I’m going to have to disagree.

    • Christopher Salihe Payne

      Look at Portugal. They decriminalized all drugs in 2001 and in the years since, they’ve seen drug use rates drop drastically, HIV rates drop drastically, teen use greatly decrease, drug related deaths greatly decrease, etc..

      Making something illegal is the surest way to make a lot of people want it.