Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Clemency is Not the Answer

...Augmenting the Administration’s clemency initiative through broader use of a judicial sentence reduction mechanism, which the Justice Department’s own Inspector General has repeatedly criticized as underutilized (most recently for aging prisoners), would put sentence reduction on a sounder long-term footing that is more consistent with the principles of determinate sentencing, be more predictable and accountable as a practical matter, and respond to any concerns about the unaccountable use of executive power.

And, because a large scale sentence reduction program is already underway in the federal courts, economies of scale would be possible.

Many years ago, when I was serving as Pardon Attorney, then-Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann asked me why we should ask the President to commute the sentence of an elderly prisoner when (he said) “we can do the job ourselves.” 

Now I would ask the current Deputy Attorney General the same question.

More:  http://www.thecrimereport.org/viewpoints/2015-07-our-approach-to-clemency-needs-a-reset

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