WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s order granting clemency to 75 people and pardons to three people, as well as an administration strategy to support the reentry of those formerly incarcerated:
“We are pleased to see the President use his singular power of clemency to grant pardons and commute these sentences. This is the first time that he has issued such an order since taking office more than a year ago, and it will change the lives of these 78 individuals and their families.
“Today’s move is also an important demonstration of the commitment to racial justice his administration espouses. The Progressive Caucus included clemency in our executive action agenda not only because of the unique power of the executive to deliver in this area, but because tackling mass incarceration — which has decimated generations of Black and Brown families and communities — must be a priority for Democratic governance.“As we celebrate the freedom of those who were granted clemency today, we cannot forget the two million of our fellow neighbors who are still behind bars. We urge President Biden to act on the rest of the Progressive Caucus’ recommendations with further actions. First, the President must ensure that the Bureau of Prisons effectively implements the Attorney General’s strong Office of Legal Counsel memo, including by granting clemency to those who have complied with the terms of their home confinement regardless of the length of their sentences. This will build on the success of the pandemic home confinement program, which alleviated prison overcrowding and mass incarceration. And second, the administration should also create an independent, permanent clemency board to review more than 18,000 pending clemency petitions. Today’s order is an important step to bending the moral arc a bit closer toward justice — but it cannot be the end.”