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Time for a Broad Approach to Clemency

June 03, 2016
The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer wrote an op-ed in The Hill with co-authors Nancy Gertner and Jonathan Simon on the problems plaguing the clemency program of the Department of Justice.

Writing in The Hill, The Sentencing Project’s Executive Director Marc Mauer and co-authors Nancy Gertner and Jonathan Simon describe the problems plaguing the clemency program of the Department of Justice.

Their commentary calls attention to the limited success of the initiative to date, and argues that the White House should consider a process that involves granting clemency to categories of offenders, rather than individual cases. Given the unclear prospects for sentencing reform legislation in Congress, such an approach would represent an important means of addressing excessive punishment.

Such a process would not be novel. In 1974 President Gerald Ford issued an amnesty for convicted draft resisters, conditional on their agreeing to perform two years of community service. This was followed by an initiative from President Jimmy Carter in 1977 granting pardons to all such persons whether or not they had been convicted, and without the requirement for service.

Read the full commentary on The Hill.

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