Thousands of Drug Offenders Get New Shot at Clemency
White House calls for 'justice, fairness, proportionality'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2014 2:31 AM CDT
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(Newser) – Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders now serving long sentences in federal prisons could receive clemency from President Obama under a major Department of Justice overhaul. Attorney General Eric Holder announced yesterday that "a larger field of eligible individuals" will be eligible for clemency under new guidelines and the administration is preparing for a flood of requests, reports USA Today, which notes that the move is part of a broader effort to reduce the federal prison population and correct past sentencing disparities. Holder said the White House is seeking "justice, fairness, and proportionality for deserving individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety."

Holder hinted that those eligible will include inmates sentenced for crack cocaine offenses before a 2010 law reduced what was called a racist disparity, reports Reuters. "There are still too many people in federal prison who were sentenced under the old regime and who, as a result, will have to spend far more time in prison than they would if sentenced today for exactly the same crime," he said. White House spokesman Jay Carney said he didn't want to speculate on how many inmates will qualify for clemency, but there is a "process in place that reflects the president's belief that everyone should have a fair shot under the system for consideration.''

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
Chuck Roast
Apr 28, 2014 7:16 PM CDT
Racist disparity lol, now that's a crock!
Apr 28, 2014 7:03 AM CDT
we don't need clemency!! we need a PRISON like in the movie "ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK"!! excellent movie!! problem solved!! period!!! there ya go!!
geo wells
Apr 23, 2014 6:44 PM CDT
what new evil is Eric Holder about? Putting a racial quota on the number of young Black men allowed into jail, independent of actual crimes committed? This should give an incentive to more professionalism in the business of crime as the risk/reward ratio is now changed. However the changing stats will probably be hidden from us. Remember that 90% of gangs are not White gangs. All crime should be punished equally, on an individual crime basis and not based on a quota system. Although Black on White crime is increasing as an epidemic, still more free criminal Black men means far more dead Black men. Diversity is a codeword for White genocide.