Congress Should Make It Easier For People To Get Pardons For Marijuana And Drug Convictions, Lawmakers Say At Hearing

Congress Should Make It Easier For People To Get Pardons For Marijuana And Drug Convictions, Lawmakers Say At Hearing
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The federal clemency process is in dire need of reform, Democratic lawmakers urged at a congressional hearing on Thursday. Streamlining the way applications for pardons and commutations are considered, they said, could help address mass incarceration caused by punitive policies like the war on drugs and allow more Americans access to jobs, housing and education. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said fixing the clemency process would help right the wrongs of harsh sentences and racially disproportionate policing. “Over the past several decades, Republicans and Democrats have failed to employ this power, which rests solely in the president,” he said. “After decades of draconian mandatory sentencing policies, far too many nonviolent federal offenders—disproportionately people of color—remain in prison serving what we know now are unnecessarily harsher sentences.”

The hearing comes as a growing number of Democrats call on the Biden administration to speed clemency relief to people with nonviolent drug convictions on their records. In April, Biden commuted the sentences of 75 individuals who were previously released to home confinement during the pandemic, a move advocates say is a step forward but far from the mass pardons they’ve been pushing for. “We must do something to reform the clemency and pardon process,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, which held Thursday’s hearing, said. “We need to begin to reform this process immediately, for there are too many mothers and fathers and people who are seeking to do better in this nation.” Nadler said he hoped the panel’s discussion would lead to proposals “that will help enable President Biden and his successors to apply the power of executive clemency as the framers intended, as a tool necessary to the fair administration of justice.” Clemency is…

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Source : Congress Should Make It Easier For People To Get Pardons For Marijuana And Drug Convictions, Lawmakers Say At Hearing

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