Reps. Conyers and Jackson Lee Applaud President Obama’s Use of Expanded Clemency
Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)released the following joint statement after the White House announced President Obama granted commutations to 46 individuals:
“We are encouraged by President Obama’s commutation of sentences of 46 individuals today – who were all victims of unjust sentencing. Nearly all of these men and women would have been released and contributing back to society already had they been convicted under today’s laws or reform proposals.
“Increased use of executive clemency power by the President highlights the need to reform federal sentencing policy for all Americans and reduce spending taxpayer dollars on our overcrowded prison system. It is our sincere hope that the Administration’s Clemency Project will continue to address the multitude of cases for which sentence reductions are appropriate.
“There are still thousands of prisoners serving unconscionably long sentences for non-violent offenses, most of them stemming from drug offenses. We need to eliminate mandatory minimums by letting judges impose appropriate sentences based on the facts and circumstances of each case.
“It is past time for us to get our fiscal and penal houses in order. Several pieces of legislation that aim to reform our sentencing laws, our prison system, and non-incarceration rehabilitation have been introduced in this Congress. We are heartened by the growing, bipartisan recognition of the problem of overincarceration and urge immediate consideration of these bills that would overhaul the criminal justice system for the better.”