ACLU Urges Obama to Reform the Criminal Justice System with Immediate Executive Action

July 14, 2015 6:00 pm

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NEW YORK — In response to President Obama’s remarks on criminal justice reform delivered at the NAACP Annual Convention, ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero had the following statement:

“President Obama deserves congratulations for confronting one of the greatest challenges facing American society, reforming our broken criminal justice system. But the president must take additional steps to build redemption into our criminal justice system, or this will only be a noteworthy speech that burnishes the president’s legacy.

“We urge the president to take the following actions immediately:

“President Obama should move faster to commute significantly more sentences for those serving time for low-level offenses, a process that has been slow, inadequate, and cumbersome.

“In his remarks, President Obama endorsed ‘banning the box’ for formerly incarcerated people. To match his words with action, he now needs to make the federal government a model employer and ‘ban the box’ for federal jobs.

“The president can do for criminal justice reform what he did for health care reform: provide the hundreds of thousands of people behind bars in this country the opportunity to rejoin their communities, and become productive members of our society. It’s in the president’s power to do so. The time is now.”

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