You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: "Free Victims of the Drug War" with the Drug Policy Alliance.
President Obama stepped up his pardons earlier this year by commuting the sentences of 22 federal prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug offenses being served “under an outdated sentencing regime,” according to the administration. As Trymaine Lee reported for MSNBC.com, the president described the power of commutation as embodying “the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance.”
For what are most certainly widely varying reasons, bipartisan conversations have begun seeking to tackle the injustices of decades-old mandatory minimum and three-strikes laws which have lead to the overcrowding of our nation’s prisons and the fulfilling of the greedy dreams of private prison company CEOs. In his statement on the commutations, the president acknowledged both the social good and the financial imperative of fixing the broken system.
“Well, here’s the good news,” the president said. "There is an increasing realization on the left, but also on the right politically, that what we’re doing is counterproductive. We’re all responsible for at least a solution to this.”
As the predictably slow wheels of potential Congressional action turn, there is good news: this is another situation where the White House holds significant unilateral power. The Drug Policy Alliance is campaigning to pressure the president on additional commutations — which should be an easy sell as he has already established a clemency initiative to encourage individuals sentenced under the draconian drug laws to petition for commutation.
You can join with the Drug Policy Alliance by visiting DrugPolicy.org/action and contacting the White House through their "Free Victims of the Drug War” page. You can also follow their hashtag #NoMoreDrugWar and use it to publicly share that you’re participating in the campaign to free those wrongly and cruelly incarcerated.
As the Drug Policy Alliance letter-writing page explains, the White House is starting to listen on this issue; now is the time to build momentum by asking the president to continue a process he began and not leave the work unfinished for an incoming administration. The time is now.
FOLLOW the hashtag: #NoMoreDrugWar
For those who want to get more involved, it’s early registration for the International Drug Policy Reform Conference (11/18-11/21/2015)
"Prolific Pardoner? Obama Grants Clemency to 22 Prisoners Last Week, but Has Denied Thousands” by Annie Waldman for ProPublica via Truthout
"The Nation's Shame: The Injustice of Mandatory Minimums" by Andrea Jones at RollingStone
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #929 "Looking to avert further tragedy (War on Drugs™)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich