The first black Secret Service agent on presidential details between pardon 2022-04-26 08:36:59


Placeholder while loading article actions

President Biden on Tuesday pardoned three people, including the first black Secret Service agent with presidential details, and commuted sentences for 75 nonviolent drug offenders amid calls from criminal justice advocates for more leniency in a system that has disproportionately harmed people. Brown-skinned.

The president said in “America is a nation of laws, second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation.” Declaration. “Elected officials on both sides of the aisle, religious leaders, civil rights advocates, and law enforcement leaders agree that our criminal justice system can and should reflect these core values ​​that enable stronger and safer communities.”

It was the first time Biden had used clemency powers in his presidency as many in the Democratic Party demanded him to exercise his executive authority, particularly in the area of ​​criminal justice restructuring.

The White House announced that several White House officials, including Homeland Policy Advisor Susan Rice and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric L. Richmond, will host a virtual roundtable on Tuesday afternoon with six formerly incarcerated people to discuss how re-entry programs can help reduce crime.

“During Second Chance Month, I am using my authority under the Constitution to uphold those values ​​by pardoning and commuting my fellow Americans,” Biden said.

Biden’s Evolution in Criminal Justice Reform

Biden’s use of his sweeping pardon powers appears to be aimed more at correcting injustices than his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, who was known for granting pardons to celebrities and political allies who broke the law.

The Biden administration also announced plans to help individuals return to society after imprisonment, including a program that provides job training; Increasing support for housing, health care, and educational needs; Grants for ex-convicts hoping to start a small business.

“As I make clear in my comprehensive firearm crime reduction strategy, helping those who have spent their time return to their families and become contributing members of their communities is one of the most effective ways to reduce recidivism and reduce crime,” the president said.

within Those who have been pardoned It was Abraham Bolden Sr., who was the first black person in the Presidential Secret Service during JFK’s presidency. In 1964, Bolden was charged with crimes for trying to sell a copy of the Secret Service file. His first trial ended in a hung jury; He was convicted in a second trial, although the main witnesses against him later admitted to lying at the prosecutor’s request. He served several years in federal custody.

Bolden, 87, of Chicago has consistently maintained his innocence and argued that he was a target because he exposed the prevailing 1960s racism in the Secret Service. Since then, he has been praised for defying racial injustice and for other contributions to community service since his release from prison.

Biden also pardoned Betty Joe Bogans, 51, of Houston. Bogans was convicted in 1998 of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute cocaine after attempting to transfer the drug to her boyfriend and partner, neither of whom has been arrested or arrested.

Bogans was a single mother with no prior record when she was sentenced to seven years in prison after her conviction. Since her release, she has spent nearly two decades working and raising her son, and has undergone cancer treatment.

Biden also pardoned Dexter Eugene Jackson, 52, who did not sell marijuana but was convicted of allowing dealers to use his pool hall for drug dealings. Jackson, of Athens, Georgia, pleaded guilty and served time. After his release, he turned his pool hall into a cellphone repair company that partnered with a program to give local high school students work experience.

Biden also commuted sentences for 75 nonviolent drug offenders from around the country, many of whom were serving in home confinement.

John Wagner and Matt Visser contributed to this report.