Six-Figure ACLU Ad Buy Pushes Biden to Honor Decarceration Promise Through Clemency
WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a slate of executive orders on racial justice. Notably missing was any executive action to boldly use his power of clemency. Today, the American Civil Liberties Union launched a six-figure advertising buy asking President Biden to honor his commitment to significant decarceration by immediately using his clemency authority to help tens of thousands of people in federal prison who could be safely released immediately.
A poll released by the ACLU last year found widespread support for executive officials to use their clemency authority to correct past injustices. A majority of voters support clemency:
- 84 percent support the release of those who were incarcerated under a statute that has since changed;
- 72 percent support the release of those who are elderly;
- 74 percent support the release of those incarcerated for minor drug distribution and have served more than 5 years; and
- 66 percent support the release of those incarcerated for drug possession.
“The American public, voters, and most importantly, incarcerated people and their families were encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to reduce our country’s prison population significantly. Now that he is in office, the president has the opportunity to act on this commitment and correct the harms created by decades of racist policies that have led to the unjust and disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown people by using his executive power to grant clemency to thousands of people,” said Cynthia Roseberry, deputy director of the ACLU’s Justice Division and former project manager for the Obama administration’s 2014 Clemency Initiative. “Clemency provides an opportunity for the Biden administration to show mercy to those who are incarcerated, repair injustices, and mend communities most impacted by mass incarceration. The new administration must commit itself to the routine and bold use of clemency.”
Specifically, the ACLU is asking President Biden use his clemency powers to bring home 25,000 people in some of our most vulnerable populations including individuals who are currently incarcerated under statutes that have since changed, older people and medically vulnerable people, particularly people at risk of COVID-19 infections, and people incarcerated for drug offenses. Collectively, these categories add up to tens of thousands of people currently incarcerated in the federal prison system.
The ACLU’s Redemption Campaign is here: https://www.aclu.org/news/topic/the-redemption-campaign-embracing-clemency/?redirect=node%2F97128
The ACLU’s poll on clemency is here: https://www.aclu.org/report/bpi-memo-majority-voters-united-states-suppo…
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The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to challenge racism in the criminal legal system.