Bernard Noble, an individual serving 13 years for possessing two marijuana joints applied for clemency and was recently denied. The reason behind the denial was he had not yet served 10 years in prison. Bernard’s sentence is a prime example of the draconian nature of the marijuana laws in many states across the country. In stark contrast to Louisiana, many states have decriminalized possession of marijuana for personal use, with the offense being punishable by a fine and with no threat of jail time.
This is truly a case of injustice and the vehicle of clemency is totally appropriate here. But for some reason Gov. Jindal and his administration refuses to show compassion and follow the recent lead of President Obama who granted clemency to twenty two prisoners this March.
By granting those twenty two prisoners their freedom President Obama displayed his administration’s attempt to reduce mass incarceration and roll back mandatory minimum sentencing laws. The clemencies granted were the result of recent improvements in the commutation process by the Justice Department which included a fast tracking program that implemented a stream lining of the application process to prisoners that were eligible under newly set criteria.
Obama sensing the difficulty of the transition from prison to the free world sent each of those granted clemency, a pep talk letter, which outlined a plan for a successful transition. In the letter the president told them they had demonstrated the potential to turn their lives around and it was up to them to make the most of the opportunity. He also pointed out that it would not be easy, and they would encounter many who would doubt people with criminal records could change, but he believed in their ability to prove the doubters wrong.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.