President Biden said Tuesday that he will use his clemency powers for the first time to commute sentences for 75 drug offenders and issue three pardons, including to the first black Secret Service agent to work on presidential details, which he has long maintained. He had been unjustly convicted.
“Helping those who have spent their time returning to their families and becoming contributing members of their communities is one of the most effective ways to reduce recidivism and reduce crime,” Biden said in a statement, adding that those who received clemency “have demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation and strive every day.” To give back and contribute to their communities.”
Senior Biden aides have described the use of presidential power as part of a broader strategy to reform the criminal justice system by relying less on prison to punish nonviolent drug offenders and using employment programs to prevent former inmates from returning to prison. On the same day, Mr. Biden detailed the mitigations, and the Departments of Justice and Labor announced a $145 million plan to provide job skills training to federal inmates to help them get work when they are released.
Officials said the easing will be official on Tuesday.
Biden’s action comes amid growing concerns among progressive groups, who say the president has not focused enough on issues that resonate in communities of color, such as voting rights or legislation to reform police.
With his approval ratings low and his domestic agenda faltering amid a slim majority in Congress, the president sent calls from his allies to stay away from day-to-day negotiations with lawmakers and exercise his executive power instead. The hope is that it will allow him to showcase the achievements and efforts to curb rising crime and inflation ahead of the midterm elections that Democrats seem to be losing.
The White House views the strategy to reduce recidivism among former prisoners as a prison reform and crime-fighting strategy, according to a senior administration official who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity before the announcement. But the official said the administration was reviewing additional clemency petitions and that voters should still expect Biden to act on other criminal justice issues, including Police Executive Order.
The commutation of sentences also appeared to be an attempt to compensate drug offenders who had faced harsh penalties rooted in a series of laws that Biden helped pass during his 36 years in the Senate that laid the foundation for mass incarceration. And he apologized to the course of the campaign trail for parts of one of the more aggressive measures he advocated, the 1994 Crime Act.
Among those to be pardoned is 51-year-old Betty Jo Bogans, who was convicted in 1998 of possessing with intent to distribute cocaine after trying to help her boyfriend transport the drug. Neither her boyfriend nor her partner has been arrested. Ms Bogans, a single mother with no prior record, was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Abraham Bolden Sr., 86, was accused of trying to sell a classified Secret Service file in 1964 after President John F. Kennedy appointed him as the first black man to serve with a presidential detail. After his arrest, he claimed that the government was trying to implicate him because of his intent to expose secret service misconduct. His first trial ended in a suspended jury, but he was convicted during a second trial, even after witnesses admitted lying at the prosecution’s request.
Dexter Jackson, 52, of Georgia, was pardoned after he admitted allowing his business to be used to sell marijuana, even though he did not directly sell the drugs. According to the White House, it is now renovating homes in areas that lack affordable housing.
According to an administration official, all 75 people who will commute were nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were serving their sentences at home due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministry of Justice take a step Relying less on federal prison in December by reversing a Trump-era legal opinion that said the Federal Bureau of Prisons would have to return to prisoners transferred to home confinement during the pandemic.
Nearly a third of those who benefited from the amnesty would have received a lighter sentence if charges were brought against them today. The official said Biden has issued more forgiveness grants than any of his five immediate predecessors in the same period in their presidency.
The actions were also a reflection of how former President Donald J. Trump used his clemency power. Trump has at times bypassed the usual clemency process that runs through the Department of Justice, choosing instead to rely on his friends and allies for recommendations and use pardons and mitigations for the benefit of people with wealth and connections, including some who abused the power of elected officials. offices.
The Biden administration has returned to a pre-Trump process, in which clemency petitions from inmates have been sent to the Justice Department, which has made recommendations to the president, according to administration officials. Committing prison sentences but not overturning convictions, while presidential pardons, which do away with convictions, are generally granted only to those who have served their sentence.