06-28-2017  10:43 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Local Government, Employers Welcome Youth to SummerWorks

A record 1,150 youth will gain real-world work experience in jobs across Portland metro ...

Multnomah County Library Hosts ‘We Refuse to Be Enemies’

Library will hold a series of social justice workshops this summer ...

The Skanner Wins NNPA Award for Best Layout and Design

Our graphic designer Patricia Irvin wins for July 2016 issues ...

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ask Ernie the Attorney

Ernest Warren's primary practice is personal injury, real property, corporate and criminal practice in Ore. and Wash. ...

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Clinton Correctional Facility

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama cut the prison sentences of 46 non-violent offenders on Monday, including 14 who were serving life sentences, saying "their punishments didn't fit the crime."

"These men and women were not hardened criminals," Obama said in a video released by the White House. He said the overwhelming majority of the 46 had been sentenced to at least 20 years.

The move was part of a broader effort by the administration to make the U.S. criminal justice system fairer. Obama has now issued nearly 90 commutations during his presidency, most of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under outdated sentencing guidelines. A commutation leaves the conviction in place, but ends the punishment.

Obama wrote a personal letter to each of the 46 individuals to notify them of their commutation.

In a letter to Jerry Bailey, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for conspiracy to violate laws against crack-cocaine, Obama praised Bailey for showing the potential to turn his life around.

"Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity," Obama wrote in the letter, which was sent to Bailey's address at a federal correctional facility in Georgia,. "It will not be easy," Obama said, "and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change."

Obama's lawyer, White House counsel Neil Eggleston, predicted the president would issue even more commutations before leaving office in early 2017. But he also said that Obama's powers to fix the problem were limited, adding that "clemency alone will not fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies."

Obama this week is devoting considerable attention to the criminal justice system. He plans to lay out ideas for how to improve the fairness of the system during a speech to the NAACP in Philadelphia on Tuesday. And on Thursday, he is to become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison when he goes to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside of Oklahoma City. While there, he will meet with law enforcement officials and inmates.

Copyright 2015 The http://www.ap.org">Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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