Black People Politics : 6 Reasons Why Obama's Clemency Program For Drug Offenders Doesn't Change Mass Incarceration One Bit

RAPTOR

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by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

1.The Obama administration’s expected releases will use the president's clemency
powers. Presidential clemency amounts to forgiveness after the fact. Clemency does
not change a single word or phrase in any of the galaxy of state and federal
laws which have already sent literally millions to prison
for absurdly long
sentences for what authorities call “non-violent drug offenses,” and under which
hundreds of thousands are currently serving those same sentences and hundreds of
thousands more are awaiting trial and sentencing. Clemency leaves those laws in place,
so that the places of those released will soon be filled again.

2.Presidential clemency will set no legal precedents that current or future
defendants in federal or state drug cases, their attorneys or sentencing judges can use
to avoid the application of unjust existing laws, including harsh mandatory minimums
and sentencing guidelines. Like the unjust statutes, the unjust legal precedents which
have helped filled state and federal prisons to bursting will also remain intact.

3.Presidential clemency will have no effect on the predatory conduct of
police and prosecutors on the state or federal level
. Police departments will
remain free to conduct their “war on drugs” almost exclusively in poor and minority
communities. Prosecutors will still be able to coerce defendants into accepting plea
bargains, and threaten them with longer sentences if they go to trial. If only one in
twenty defendants across the board and even fewer in federal court currently go to
trial, what does that say about the ability or the willingness of our courts to even try
determining guilt or innocence? Federal prosecutors have publicly thumbed their
noses at Eric Holder's feeble questioning of the war on drugs, stated their intention to
continue filling the prisons and jails, and local prosecutors in the US are elected
officials accustomed to running for office based on how many people they can lock up
for how long.

4.Presidential clemency can only be applied to federal prisoners, who are a
mere 190,000, or 11% of the roughly 1.7 million currently serving time.

(Another 600,000 are awaiting trial on all levels or serving misdemeanor time.) If
we're talking about federal prisoners serving drug related sentences, the universe
shrinks to only 100,000, or 5% of the nation's 2.3 million prisoners.

5.There are more former prisoners than current ones. For the rest of their lives,
former prisoners and their families are viciously discriminated against in
a host of ways, in the job and housing market, in education and public
services and in access to health care, all legally. That won't change.
Even the
few that get this clemency won't be protected from that.

6.The federal government will NOT even be screening all federal drug
prisoners to determine who is eligible for clemency.
Attorney General Holder
has instead announced that criminal defense lawyers and organizations like
the ACLU are being asked to bring to the government's
attention cases they
imagine are most deserving of clemency. Don't they have, you know, a Department of
Justice for that? Depending on private organizations and attorneys to come
up with the cases for possible clemency turns the whole thing into an
exercise in philanthropy, not the fundamental change in governmental
policy that people need, want and demand.
It means that prisoners serving
unduly long sentences who don't have vigilant private attorneys and advocacy
organizations on their case will remain unjustly imprisoned, while those with outside
friends have a chance at early release.

Read more: http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/6-reasons-
why-obamas-clemency-program-drug-offenders-doesnt-change-
mass-incarceration-one-bi
 

skuderjaymes

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Clemency for drug offenders literally changes everything for the individuals released. Because it does no do like superman did in superman 2 where he circled the earth backward and undid time, doesn't mean that it is no good. Talk about being unsatisfied... isn't that one of the black stereotypes?.. not being able to be pleased?..

I swear there's nothing Obama could do that the Black Agenda Report would not find fault with. At this point is almost comical.. just pure hate.. in the colloquial sense of the word.
 

I'm Becoming Me

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I understand his attempt to make things right and many applaud his efforts, I personally have no beef with our president.

The one issue that is the reality of many black men and women who are in prison and eventually released (clemency or not) goes back to #5 on that list.

As I stated in the other thread that was posted yesterday, " Where are the jobs for these people when they get out and the help needed to keep them from having to turn to same crimes again that lead to imprisonment once again?"..

What are the real answers to the real root of problems that create this in first place?

If honest, can we say there are no real solutions that will be a cure-all and this is a reality and 'burden' that we have no choice but to bear?...
 

Clyde C Coger Jr

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Your new avatar is simply beautiful ...


I understand his attempt to make things right and many applaud his efforts, I personally have no beef with our president.

The one issue that is the reality of many black men and women who are in prison and eventually released (clemency or not) goes back to #5 on that list.

As I stated in the other thread that was posted yesterday, " Where are the jobs for these people when they get out and the help needed to keep them from having to turn to same crimes again that lead to imprisonment once again?"..

What are the real answers to the real root of problems that create this in first place?

If honest, can we say there are no real solutions that will be a cure-all and this is a reality and 'burden' that we have no choice but to bear?...
 

Kemetstry

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Unless the mentality that a felony is a badge of honor ends, it wont make a difference





.
 

Clyde C Coger Jr

going above and beyond
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Unless the mentality that a felony is a badge of honor ends, it wont make a difference.

Point well made, its almost viewed as a "rite of passage" by our young men. As though its the thing to do, since e'er body else is doing it, smh.


 

I'm Becoming Me

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The factors and issues that ultimately are responsible for mass incarceration are many; there is no one reason these issues exist; take into consideration a system that is designed to keep many stuck in the system, this is just one factor.
 
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Kemetstry

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The factors and issued that ultimately are responsible for mass incarceration are many; there is no one reason these issues exist; take into consideration a system that is designed to keep many stuck in the system, this is just one factor.


No, in the past we were incarcerated as a way of control, illegally. Though that is the ultimate aim still, today we volunteer for the control. We have shunned education as false. Thus, we have a self inflicted perpetuation of the repeating poverty cycle





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