Tag: prison reform

President Obama Pens 55-Page Article on Criminal Justice Reform in Harvard Law Review

(photo via theroot.com)

article via theroot.com

President Barack Obama returned to his Harvard Law Review roots (he was the first black president of hundred-plus year old journal in his last year at the school) as he penned a 55-page-article on criminal justice reform, how his administration has moved the needle, and how far we have to go.

Entitled “The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform,” the piece appeared in the January 2017 edition of the illustrious book, and according to Harvard magazine, “largely restates the bipartisan case for criminal-justice reform, with an emphasis on mass incarceration’s financial cost.”

Obama did touch on the racial bias in our criminal justice policymaking in the article, writing:

A large body of research finds that, for similar offenses, members of the African American and Hispanic communities are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to harsher penalties. Rates of parental incarceration are two to seven times higher for African American and Hispanic children. Over the past thirty years, the share of African American adults with a past felony conviction—and who have paid their debt to society—has more than tripled, and one in four African American men outside the correctional system now has a felony record. This number is in addition to the one in twenty African American men under correctional supervision…The system of mass incarceration has endured for as long as it has in part because of the school-to-prison pipeline and political opposition to reform that insisted on ‘a stern dose of discipline—more policy, more prisons, more personal responsibility, and an end to welfare.’ Today, however, much of that opposition has receded, replaced by broad agreement that policies put in place in that era are not a good match for the challenges of today.

To read full article, go to: President Obama Pens 55-Page Article on Criminal Justice

President Obama Commutes Sentences of 46 Non-Violent Drug Offenders

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.40.39 PM
(Photo via YouTube)

A week after the White House announced the president would commute sentences for dozens of non-violent drug offenders this summer, Barack Obama made good on the promise, freeing 46 non-violent drug offenders Monday afternoon.

The move is a historic one; the president commuted more sentences at one time than any president has since Lyndon B. Johnson, the Washington Post points out.

In a video posted to Facebook, which you can see if you click here, Obama expounded on the effort to correct the tough and unfair sentencing that disproportionately affects minority men and, in turn, destroys communities.

“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free.”But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”

“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free.”But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”

During his presidency, Obama has commuted sentences for 89 people. Since agreeing to rectify the unfair sentencing that is a large pillar of prison reform, about 35,000 inmates have applied to be considered for early release.

Surprisingly, prison reform has become a bipartisan issue, garnering support from Democrats, Republicans, and those in between. Obama’s latest effort comes just days before he’s set to make history as the first sitting president to visit a federal prison.

On Thursday, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and inmates at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City.  According to a White House press release, the president will also be conducting an interview for a “Vice” documentary focused on the criminal justice system in this nation.

article by Christina Coleman via theurbandaily.com

Obama to Become 1st Sitting President to Visit a Federal Prison

obama_nsa_reuters_img

Washington (CNN) President Barack Obama next week will become the first sitting President to visit a federal prison, the White House announced Friday.  Obama will visit El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, next Thursday, where he will meet with inmates and law enforcement officials, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

At the prison, Obama will also conduct an interview with VICE that will be a part of a documentary airing this fall on HBO focusing on America’s “broken criminal justice system,” according to a press release from VICE. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, El Reno is a medium security federal correctional institution.

At a news conference last week, Obama said reforming the criminal justice system was a top priority for his remaining time in office.  On Tuesday, Obama will speak at the 106th Annual NAACP Convention in Philadelphia, where Josh Earnest said the President will outline “injustice” in the system and highlight ideas for reform.

The visit to El Reno will be a part of a two-day trip to Oklahoma. On Wednesday, the President will start his visit in Durant, where he will speak to the Choctaw Nation and make remarks on expanding economic opportunity.

article by Allie Malloy via cnn.com