WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced commutations and pardons for 78 people. Cynthia W. Roseberry, deputy director of the Justice Division at the American Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement: 

“The ACLU applauds President Biden’s grant of 75 commutations and three pardons, many of whom fit the categories called for by the ACLU in the Redemption Campaign, a nationwide effort to liberate 50,000 people from federal and state prisons. Poll after poll have shown that voters support the president using his clemency powers in a bold manner. This early use of clemency power is a good first step in the long road to end mass incarceration, but there is a lot more work to be done if the president is to fulfill his commitment to justice and equity.

“America incarcerates more than 20 percent of the world’s prison population despite comprising only 5 percent of the global population, with Black people 10 times more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses than anyone else. At a cost of $80 billion annually, the carceral system is a behemoth albatross for justice and equality. The grant of clemency plus the initiatives announced as wrap around services is essential to returning people to their communities and to their families.

“In a poll soon to be released by the ACLU, there is broad support for the president to grant clemency. Americans from all political ideologies support giving people a second chance. If we are to be a nation of second chances and justice for all, then the president must lead through his action – and clemency is a powerful way to lead.”

 

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