The Clemency Initiative

Justice That Works...


Notable new comments and commitments on criminal justice reform from GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan

Posted by on June 30, 2016 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

House Speaker Paul Ryan gave a candid speech about the "State of American Politics" on Wednesday, during which he admitted that he too hasn't always lived up to what he believes is a high-standard of political discourse.

A member of the audience asked Ryan after the speech if he had been persuaded differently on any policy position he has held and was willing to admit he was wrong.

Ryan — who earlier repeated an apology he had made in 2014 for a past statement about America's supposed "makers and takers" when discussing poverty in the country — said he had been wrong about criminal justice. "One of the things that I learned is that there are a lot of people who've been in prison that committed crimes that were not violent crimes," he said. "Once they have that mark on their record, their future is really bleak."

He said that, when he came to Congress in the late 1990s, he was a staunch supporter of tough crime laws. He admitted that both his own party and Democrats overcompensated at the time. The policies, he said, "end up ruining their lives and hurting their communities where we could've have alternative means of incarceration, instead of basically destroying someone's life. I've become a late convert."


- Sentencing Law & Policy

Criminal Justice Reform: There's Bipartisan Hope

Posted by on June 1, 2016 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

In a tumultuous election year filled with negativity and vitriol, there’s little hope on Capitol Hill for passage of any meaningful legislation before November, and few pieces reflecting true bipartisan agreement. One exception, and the biggest hope for significant legislative achievement this year, is criminal justice reform.


For more than a year, there has been growing momentum on both sides of the aisle, inside and outside of Congress, for restructuring federal sentencing laws. The interlocking goals of would-be reformers are to reduce the prison population both for reasons of fairness and fiscal prudence, while also helping non-violent offenders re-enter society on a productive trajectory.


- Real Clear Politics

Obama Commutes 61 Drug Sentences

Posted by on March 31, 2016 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

President Obama recently commuted the sentences of 61 inmates as part of his ongoing effort to give relief to prisoners who were harshly sentenced in the nation’s war on drugs. More than one-third of the inmates were serving life sentences. Obama has granted clemency to 248 federal inmates, including the most recent 61 commutations. White House officials said that Obama will continue granting clemency to inmates who meet certain criteria set out by the Justice Department throughout his last year. The president has vowed to change how the criminal justice system treats nonviolent drug offenders.

- Washington Post

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.