Biden pardons 11 people and shortens the sentences of 5 others convicted of non-violent drug crimes


President Joe Biden speaks before signing a $95 billion Ukraine aid package that also includes support for Israel, Taiwan, and other allies, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has granted clemency to 16 people who were convicted of non-violent drug crimes, issuing pardons to 11 men and women and commuting the sentences of five other people in the latest use of his clemency power to address racial disparities in the justice system.

Biden said in a statement Wednesday that April is Second Chance Month and that many of the individuals getting clemency had received “disproportionately longer” sentences than they would have under current law.

The Democratic president is campaigning for reelection in November and is grappling with how to boost support from communities of color that heavily supported him over Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The two rivals are headed for a likely rematch in November.

“Like my other clemency actions, these pardons and commutations reflect my overarching commitment to addressing racial disparities and improving public safety,” Biden said.

Biden said those receiving pardons had shown a commitment to bettering their lives and doing good in their communities. Those who had their sentences commuted, or shortened, had shown they are worthy of forgiveness and the chance to build a future outside of prison, he said.

The president issued his most recent previous pardons in December 2023 to thousands of people who were convicted of use and simple possession of marijuana on federal lands and in the District of Columbia.

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