WASHINGTON – President Biden is commuting the sentences of 31 defendants convicted of nonviolent drug crimes who successfully served terms of home confinement, announcing the commutations as part of a broader effort to help those who have completed federal sentences reenter society.
The White House did not immediately release the names of those whose sentences were commuted. A commutation means that a person’s remaining sentence is reduced or pardoned, even though their conviction is upheld. A commutation is not a pardon, which completely removes the conviction.
“These individuals, who have successfully served sentences under house arrest, have demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation, including securing employment and advancing their education. Many would receive lesser sentences if charged with the same crime today because of the changes. In legislation, including the bipartisan First Action Act,” the White House said. Referring to a 2018 law that reformed aspects of the federal criminal justice system
The announcement coincides with the release of the White House’s Alternatives, Rehabilitation and Reentry Strategic Plan, which details steps the administration is taking to help formerly incarcerated people access health care, housing, education, employment and more.
Most elements of the plan include implementing federal laws, such as a 2020 law that would make about 800,000 people eligible for Pell grants through prison education programs. The plan also provides the Department of Housing and Urban Development with $486 million in grants and 3,300 rental assistance vouchers to help with housing issues. It also implements a special Medicare enrollment period for those who have served time in prison.
Mr. Biden had previously issued about 80 commutations so far in his presidency, according to Justice Department records. He also pardoned nine, and Issue a blanket pardon About 6,000 federal defendants were convicted last year of simple possession of marijuana.
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