Biden Issues Pardons, Commutes to Multiple Convicts

( – Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution grants presidents sweeping pardon powers. Every commander-in-chief uses them to pardon and commute the sentences of convicts they believe are deserving. President Joe Biden recently did the same.

Every April, the Biden administration celebrates Second Chance Month to acknowledge the people involved in ensuring former prisoners successfully reenter society and don’t re-offend. On April 14, the administration hosted an event at the White House that included big names like Kim Kardashian.

On the day of the event, Biden announced he had issued 11 pardons and commuted the sentences of five others who’d been convicted of non-violent drug offenses. In a statement, the president said many of the offenders he helped had “received disproportionately longer sentences” than they’d receive today.

Further, the president said the action was also part of his “overarching commitment to addressing racial disparities” in the justice system. Ironically, Biden is often blamed for creating that system by helping to pass the 1994 crime bill. He sponsored the legislation while he was a senator. Criminal justice reform advocates believe the bill contributed to the mass incarceration of black and brown people. As president, Biden has tried to reverse some of that damage.

One of the people pardoned by the president was 33-year-old Alexis Sutton of New Haven, Connecticut. She pleaded guilty to a non-violent drug offense and has now received early termination of her probation. Since her conviction, Sutton has taken classes in the hope of earning a nursing degree.

Jeffrey Alan Lewis, of Douglasville, Georgia, received a pardon. The 58-year-old pleaded guilty to a non-violent drug offense 18 years ago. He served his sentence and now helps his community through charitable work. Stacy Lynn Wilder, 49, is another pardon recipient who pleaded guilty to a low-level drug offense. She donates to charities that help veterans, animals, and homeless people.

Biden said the pardon recipients all showed they wanted to “positively transfor[m] their communities” and change their own lives.

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