Tag Archives: American Prisons

President Obama Makes History by Visiting Federal Prison

by Mary C. Piemonte

U.S. President Barack Obama at NAACP Convention in Philadelphia on July 14, 2015.

U.S. President Barack Obama at NAACP Convention in Philadelphia on July 14, 2015.

Barack Obama made history recently, when he became the first U.S. President to visit a federal prison.

He went to a medium-security lockup in El Reno, Oklahoma,“to shine a spotlight”on his criminal justice reform efforts that include reform “in the cell block” according to remarks he made two days earlier at the NAACP’s 106th national convention in Philadelphia, Pa. on July 14, 2015.
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President Obama Commutes More Prison Sentences for Low-level Drug Offenders

News brief: by Mary C. Piemonte

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.”

 

U.S. “Smarter Sentencing Act” for Non-Violent Low-Level Drug Offenses

by Mary C. Piemonte

U. S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) talking about the bipartisan “Smarter Sentencing Act”  at the “Rethinking the War on Drugs” symposium at Northwestern Law School on Feb. 20, 2014.
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