According to shocking new ACLU report titled A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Non Violent Offenses there are 3,278 prisoners serving sentences of life without possibility of parole for non-violent crimes. These crimes include carrying drugs for an abusive boyfriend, stealing tools from a toolshed and stealing a $159 dollar jacket. We are locking up a record number of people – many of which will never see outside a prisons walls again - at a huge financial and human cost. Only 1/5 of the world’s countries allow a sentence as harsh as life without parole. Of those that do, most countries reserve its use for murder or repeated violent crimes.
President Obama has the power to help. He has the unique ability to pardon or commute sentences. However, according to the DOJ websites, in his five year presidency, President Obama has only granted 39 pardons and 1 sentence commutation out of 10,233 petitions received. As a point of comparison, Reagan pardoned and commuted 313 sentences and Nixon 923 – ironically both known for their “tough-on-crime rhetoric.” As Andrew Sullivan’s “The Dish” points out, by the end of the year Obama will have pardoned 10 turkeys – meaning 20% of all presidential pardons will have gone to turkeys.
This holiday season call on President Obama to end this injustice. Sign the petition asking him to review the over 2,000 individuals sentenced to life without parole in federal prisons, a step towards allowing them to spend future holidays where they belong: home with their loved ones.