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Thank you President Obama. Another 72 inmates received commutations of their sentences today, bringing his 8 day total to 172 and !
President Obama on Friday commuted the sentences of 72 inmates, the latest sign he is accelerating his clemency push during his final months in office.
It was the second time in the past eight days the White House announced that a large group of people, most convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, would be released from federal prison. The two batches totaled 170 inmates.
In total, 944 people have had their sentences cut short by Obama — more than the last 11 presidents combined — with 760 receiving commutations this year alone.
Please keep them coming!
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President Obama today commuted the sentences of 102 inmates, bringing the number of commutations this year to 590 and 774 in total during his presidency. Here are their names and a brief description of their original sentences.
President Obama granted clemency to 102 inmates on Thursday, as he continues to release federal inmates serving long prison terms for nonviolent drug offenses. Obama has now commuted the sentences of 774 federal inmates, more than the previous 11 presidents combined.
With 590 commutations this year, the president has commuted more individuals’ sentences in one year than in any single year in U.S. history, White House officials said.
Obama's approval ratings are at the highest level of his second term. [More...]
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67 of today's commutations went to those serving life sentences with no chance of release. To date, he has commuted 197 life sentences. (Some were commuted to 30 years, not time served.)
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President Obama commuted 58 sentences today. 57 of the 58 inmates are drug offenders.
His statement is here. He called for Congress to reform unjust mandatory minimum sentences.
While I will continue to review clemency applications, only Congress can bring about the lasting changes we need to federal sentencing. That is why I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in Congress to reform federal sentencing laws, particularly on overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Because it just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison. An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer.
This brings Obama's total number of commutations, to 306, which he says is more commutations than the last six presidents combined.
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The Department of Justice has issued a directive to states telling them to make it easier for those leaving prison to get ID cards. It's part of a broader new initiative to make it easier for felons leaving prison to re-enter society. The initiative is called Roadmap to Re-entry.
The AP reports: [More...]
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Is the 20th time the charm for former Charles Manson follower Leslie van Houten, imprisoned since 1969 for the La Bianca murders? The parole board in California today agreed to recommend she be granted parole. Although she has been a minor inmate, her prior 19 requests were denied. The final decision will be up to Gov. Jerry Brown.
I've supported her parole here on TalkLeft since 2002. [More..]
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Here is President Obama's op-ed in today's Washington Post explaining why he has ordered the end of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.
Here is the Justice Department report on the effects of solitary confinement -- Obama says he adopted its recommendations. The report has 50 guiding principles. Obama writes:
The Justice Department has completed its review, and I am adopting its recommendations to reform the federal prison system. These include banning solitary confinement for juveniles and as a response to low-level infractions, expanding treatment for the mentally ill and increasing the amount of time inmates in solitary can spend outside of their cells. These steps will affect some 10,000 federal prisoners held in solitary confinement — and hopefully serve as a model for state and local corrections systems. And I will direct all relevant federal agencies to review these principles and report back to me with a plan to address their use of solitary confinement.
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Gov. Jerry Brown gave Robert Downey Jr. a Xmas Eve gift of a pardon.
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Here's the DOJ announcement about Obama's most recent sentence commutations with names and case details.
Here is Obama's statistical record on pardons and commutations, from the Office of the Pardon Attorney, updated through Dec. 4, 2015.
Here is the list of all pardons granted by Obama from 2009 through 2015.
Here is the list of all commutations granted by Obama from 2009 to 2015.
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Pope Francis has concluded his visit to the U.S. It was a big success. Today, among other stops, he visited a jail in Philadelphia and met with inmates.
Pope Francis also rebuked society for not doing enough to rehabilitate prisoners. “It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities,” the pope said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. “It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society.”
...Visiting the imprisoned is a traditional good work in the Catholic Church, one of the seven corporal works of mercy.
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President Obama has issued 46 grants of clemency to drug offenders.
“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free.”But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”
This isn't even on my front page of Google News, I had to search for it. Google needs a new algorythm or whatever they use to decide what's important enough for the front page and top stories.
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Jung says on his website:
Jung was a part of the Medellin Cartel which was responsible for up to 85 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States. He specialized in the smuggling of cocaine from Colombia on a large scale.
Jung was first sent to the federal prison in Danbury on a marijuana case. While there, he made friends with Carlos Lehder, who along with Pablo Escobar, the Ochoa brothers and Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha (alias El Mexicano) headed up the Medellin cartel. In the movie, Jung says:
Danbury wasn't a prison, it was a crime school. I went in with a Bachelor of marijuana, came out with a Doctorate of cocaine.
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The Bureau of Prisons has announced renovations will commence on the Thomson maximum security prison in Illinois. The funding was approved in January in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.
The "state of the art" unoccupied state prison was built in 2001 and purchased by the U.S. from Illinois as a possible place to house Guantanamo inmates when Gitmo closed. Then Congress killed the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to the U.S.
Check out the gleeful response of Illinois senator Richard Durbin:
This is the news we’ve been waiting for. The funding that the Bureau of Prisons reported to Congress today is a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois,” said Durbin.
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Ohio Death Row Inmate Billy Slagle committed suicide on in the early morning hours of August 4, three days before his scheduled execution. An official "after action review report" publicly released yesterday finds the guards did not make their required rounds every 30 minutes as required and that the electronic logs about one guard's rounds that evening were falsified. Videos show the actual time the rounds occurred.
According to the review, DRC officer John McCollister, 30, falsely indicated on the prison's electronic log that Slagle's death row cell was checked consistently in 30-minute intervals, as required by the DRC, during the overnight shift.
The log shows rounds were conducted in the required intervals beginning at 10 p.m. Aug. 3 – when the shift began -- until about 5 a.m. Aug. 4, when Slagle's body was found hanging in the cell. The DRC review states that corrections officer Clay Putnam, 19, conducted the shift's first check on Slagle's cell at 11:20 p.m. and that he completed rounds once every hour beginning just after 2 a.m.
The actual report is available here. It concludes: [More...]
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Graphic from Human Rights Watch report
The Bureau of Prisons has issued new compassionate release guidelines. Dated August 12, 2013, they are available on the BOP website here.
The policy addresses release under both 18 U.S.C. 4205(g) and 18 U.S.C. 3582©(1)(A) (pre and post-1987 sentences).
18 U.S.C. 4205(g) was repealed effective November 1, 1987, but remains the controlling law for inmates whose offenses occurred prior to that date. For inmates whose offenses occurred on or after November 1, 1987, the applicable statute is 18 U.S.C. 3582©(1)(A).
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