As President Barack Obama’s two terms as president draw to a close, he has a few more items on his agenda. Before President-elect Trump takes office on January 20th, President Obama wants to push through a few more liberal items – although Trump has promised to erase most of Obama’s wrongdoings. Among these is going easier on prisoners and criminals.
On Monday, the White House announced that President released scores of felons off from their federal crimes. This included the president pardoning 78 people and shortening the sentence of another 153 people convicted of crimes in court.
This release of prisoners goes on record as the largest number of individual clemencies given by a president in a single day.
Learn more about what Obama is doing before he steps down as president…
Because he knows his time as president is drawing to a close, Obama has been granting pardons and commutations as fast as he can. He is letting as many convicted felons back onto the streets of America as possible before President Trump takes office and locks them all up again.
While Obama has issued a number of pardons, he has focused most intensely on lessening the sentences of those convicted of drug charges.
Pardons forgive someone for a crime and allow someone the right to vote, hold state or local office, and sit on a jury. The presidential pardon also helps reduce the stigma around all the issues of conviction – including the challenge of finding a legitimate job.
Because many jobs require former convicts to check a box, they are forced to look for under-the-table work. This cycle creates more convictions and drives freed men and women to a life of crime.
Throughout his presidency Obama has pardoned 148 people and shortened the sentence of 1,176 people, including 395 who were sentenced to prison for life.
Neil Eggleston, Obama’s White House counsel, says that each clemency recipient has a unique story. But they all share a common thread of rehabilitation.
Most pardon recipients lead a productive and law-abiding life after being released from prison. Many of these people want to contribute to society in a meaningful way.
Obama’s commutation recipients have spent most of their time in prison taking educational courses, vocational training, drug rehabilitation treatment, and shown other signs that they want to live a good life again. The president made their wishes come true.
“These are the stories that demonstrate the successes that can be achieved — by both individuals and society — in a nation of second chances,” Eggleston said.
The commutations were announced while Obama is on vacation with his family in Hawaii.
While the majority of these convicts who are pardoned or have their sentenced lessened by the president go on to lead law-abiding lives, what about the certain percentage who turn back to crime.
Has the president unknowingly released rapists and murders back onto the streets of America?
Should the president pardon and forgive so many convicted felons? Or are they in prison for a reason?
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