« Fraternal Order of Police now supporting FIRST STEP Act with some sentencing reform provisions | Main | "US Criminal Justice Policy and Practice in the Twenty‐First Century: Toward the End of Mass Incarceration?" »

November 11, 2018

How about a few clemency grants, Prez Trump, to really honor vets in need on Veterans Day?

Five years ago in this post, I noted that on Veterans Day I often find myself thinking about veterans who, after serving our country in the military and thereby supporting of our nation's commitment to liberty and freedom, return home and discover the hard way that these constitutional values are not always paramount in our modern criminal justice systems.  This 2015 report on "Veterans in Prison and Jail, 2011–12" found that in "2011–12, an estimated 181,500 veterans (8% of all inmates in state and federal prison and local jail excluding military-operated facilities) were serving time in correctional facilities."

In my Veterans Day 2013 post, I asked "How about a few clemency grants, Prez Obama, to really honor vets in need on Veterans Day?".  Five years later, especially after Prez Trump talked up possibly granting thousands of clemencies earlier this year, it seems fitting to pose the same question to Prez Obama's successor.  It also seems worthwhile to link to posts from the summer and thereafter highlights reports and comments by Prez Trump which generated lots of clemency optimism on which he has yet to deliver.

A few of many recent related posts: 

November 11, 2018 at 10:23 PM | Permalink


Name names and write the President, Professor Berman.

Couple things---have any more of the Obama clemency recipients been bad? I know there was one.

As may surprise people, I believe in a judicious but effective use of the clemency/pardon power. Sometimes people locked up for 20 years do change, or a sentence was too long.

Kyrsten Simema will probably oppose clemency for military vets--she hates them.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 13, 2018 7:34:13 AM

I have in prior posts named a lot of names, federalist, and I appreciate that you have consistently indicated (as has Prez Trump) that you think some federal sentences can be too long.

Meanwhile, I am not aware of any public accounting of the history of Obama's clemency recipients. Statistically speaking, it would be shocking if there weren't many dozens who have done something bad after release. Roughly 1 in 3 persons released from federal prison gets arrested again within two years, meaning we should expect more than 500 of the more than 1500 Obama clemency recipients to get rearrested unless his team did a good job with both clemency selection and re-entry services. Even if that means only 1 in 30 (rather than 1 in 3) gets in trouble anew, that would still mean 50+ recipients causing some trouble again. Like you, I hope the number is even lower AND I hope any future trouble is minor stuff, not significant harms.

As for the new Senator from Arizona and her regard for veterans in the criminal justice system, I found this press release: "Sinema-backed Bill to Expand Access to Treatment, Support for Veterans Passes House" https://sinema.house.gov/latest-news/sinemabacked-bill-to-expand-access-to-treatment-support-for-veterans-passes-house/. This does not seem like the work of someone who hates vets, but perhaps you know better.

Posted by: Doug B | Nov 13, 2018 9:50:33 AM

Anyone who calls himself "federalist" likely knows everything about everything. It's almost as good as going by "Justin D. Dunning-Kruger".

Posted by: G. B. Robinson | Nov 17, 2018 11:35:38 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB