Dozens of criminal justice reform activists have publicly told President Barack Obama his personal intervention is needed to keep the clemency initiative his administration announced in 2014 from falling victim to what a “bureaucratic logjam” at the Department of Justice (DOJ). A joint letter went to the president on June 21 from more than 40
By Christopher Zoukis It’s spring break for many around the country, but at the Barack Obama White House, the focus is on events to promote Administration initiatives aimed at making it easier for ex-prisoners to re-enter mainstream society. In its final months, the Administration plans to keep pushing measures it believes will improve re-assimilation of
By Christopher Zoukis Christmas came early for some prisoners this past Friday, when President Obama commuted the sentences of 94 prisoners, nearly all of whom were incarcerated for drug-related offences. It brings the total of commutations to 184 during his presidency—bested only by Lyndon B. Johnson’s 226. We must remember, however, that these commutations are
The end of October will herald new beginnings for roughly 6,000 inmates whose sentences have been reduced under changes to federal sentencing guidelines. While it might be tempting to attribute these changes to Obama’s push this last year for prison reform, these policy changes stem from wheels set into motion quite some time ago. Under
The recent announcements of the pilot project restoring Pell Grants to qualified inmates has been greeted almost universally with praise; there is no question that the positive social and economic outcomes of this initiative will be huge. But while we should certainly applaud these measures, we must remember that there’s an important step that becomes
Stephanie George is serving as a stark reminder that despite recent prison reform announcements, we cannot be complacent, that the struggle for re-integration does not end outside prison walls. George had been given a life sentence for “letting her former boyfriend keep drugs in their Florida home,” and assisted in his facilitation of dealings. While
In the spring of 2015, the Obama administration made the exciting announcement that it would allow colleges at select prisons to provide face-to-face instruction to select prisoners. Titled The Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, it will assist released prisoners “get jobs, support their families and turn their lives around,” according to the Department of Education.
By Christopher Zoukis A few weeks ago I wrote about the passing of a landmark revision to the United Nations’ “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.” In it, I questioned why the United States, a key player in the revision process, had remained so quiet since the announcement, positing that the silence was in