As the White House announces the acts of clemency, the administration also introduces new funding and a strategy to help people transition from incarceration into employment.
The president is pardoning 75 nonviolent offenders and commuting their sentences. Abraham Bolden, Betty Jo Bogans and Dexter Eugene Jackson are being pardoned by the president. A senior administration official stated that the recipients of the commuted sentences have spent an average of 10 years in prison. Officials stated that nearly one-third of the defendants would have received shorter sentences had they been charged with the same offense today.
Bolden, an 86-year-old former U.S. Secret Service agent was the first Black person to join a presidential detail. Bolden was indicted for trying to sell a Secret Service file. Bolden was convicted at a second trial, after his first trial ended in a hung jury. However, key witnesses confessed that they lied to the prosecutor.
Bogans, 51, was convicted in 1998 of possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute. She tried to transport drugs for her boyfriend, and his accomplice. However, they were never arrested or detained. After her seven-year sentence, Bogans has been able to continue working while she is undergoing treatment for cancer. Jackson, 52, was convicted of using his business to permit marijuana distribution in Georgia in 2002. He wasn't involved in the trafficking. Jackson pleaded guilty and has since run a cell-phone repair business that employs high school students.
The president released a statement saying that he was pardoning three people who had demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation. He also said that they were commuting the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. "I am also commuting sentences of 75 people serving lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Many of them have been in home confinement since the COVID pandemic. Many of these people would have received a lower sentence had they been changed today with the bipartisan First Step Act.
The Justice Department and Labor Department announced a $145million investment in job skills training and individual reentry plans for the approximately 137,000 people currently incarcerated at Bureau of Prisons facilities. This is part of the administration’s strategy. This is part of the implementation by the Justice Department of the Trump-era First Step Act. To make it easier to get certain business loans for those with no criminal record, the Small Business Administration is changing its rules.
A senior administration official said that "we know that there has been an increase in gun crimes over the last few years during the pandemic," and that it was significant. We know that employment decreases recidivism and that we are really looking into that.
For those who have missed their Medicare enrollments while in prison, the White House will offer a special enrollment period. Senior administration officials stated that this will help to reduce the penalties and coverage gaps for prisoners returning home.