In a week chock-full of events and political moves that highlight the need for criminal justice reform in the nation, President Barack Obama traveled to Philadelphia Tuesday to deliver remarks focused on policing and prisons at the NAACP’s 106th National Convention.
Just a day prior, Obama granted clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders; the most a president has commuted at one time since Lyndon B. Johnson. In a Facebook video, the president expounded on the effort to correct the tough sentencing that disproportionately affects men of color.
“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free. “But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”
During his speech, Obama will push criminal justice reform as a bipartisan effort. He is also expected to address policing that will battle social issues and poverty, the Huffington Post reports.
At the NAACP convention on Monday, a group of lawmakers discussed bipartisan criminal justice legislation under consideration in Congress. These included a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) advocating for shorter prison sentences for non-violent offenders and reducing the effect of criminal records for juvenile offenders when they become adults.
Later this week, the president is expected to visit law enforcement officials and inmates at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | VIDEO SOURCE: White House