“Our nation is being robbed of men and women who could be workers and taxpayers, could be more actively involved in their children’s lives, could be role models, could be community leaders, and right now they’re locked up for a non-violent offense.” All because, “our criminal justice system isn’t as smart as it should be” according to President Barack Obama in remarks he made in his address at the NAACP’s 106th national convention on July 14, 2015.
And the he added that “mass incarceration makes our entire country worse off, and we need to do something about it.
Listen to his full remarks in this White House video of him “outlining the unfairness in much of our criminal justice system, and highlighting ideas of reform, the reasons why we need to reform America’s criminal justice system, and why we need to invest in our communities and expand opportunity for all Americans while keeping Americans safe and secure.”
In his continuing effort of granting clemency to nonviolent drug offenders President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 men and women, “nearly all of whom would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today,” according to his press release on July 13, 2015.
In a White House video released that day, Obama said that as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and criminal defense attorney, he is”well acquainted with how federal sentencing practices” have created in too many instances“unduly harsh sentences” that have lead nonviolent drug offenders to spend decades, if not life, in prison.
And he added that “many people are justly punished for causing harm and perpetuating violence in our communities. But, in some cases, the punishment required by law far exceeded the offense.”
These unduly harsh sentences are one of the reasons the President said he is “committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy unfairness in our criminal justice system.”
Drug Courts, DWI (driving while intoxicated) Courts and Veterans Treatment Courts are expected to get a “historic” amount of federal funding next year thanks to President Barack Obama, who signed into law the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill on Dec. 16, 2014.
The Institute of the Black World 21st Century website photo
On the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of the declared “War on Drugs” established under former Richard M. Nixon, President Barack Obama’s administration got a “C” on a new report card on their efforts over the past year to reform, if not end, the drug war, which has turned out to be a “war against poor and powerless black people across the country,” according The Institute of the Black World 21st Century.
Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, talking about Chicago crime during a symposium on the national war on drugs at Northwestern University Law School in mid-February 2014. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte
Kenneth Shoulders, suspected to be a high-ranking member of the Conservative Vice Lords, was among 26 other gang members of that sect charged last month “for their alleged roles in supplying and distributing heroin and crack cocaine” in the neighborhood just north of Douglas Park on the city’s west side” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The alleged illegal drug activities occurred south of the Interstate 290 Eisenhower Expressway corridor that has been referred to as the “Heroin Highway,” according to the DEA, “because of the accessibility it provides to city and suburban heroin customers.”