Nov 14-15: #cut50 Brings Families Seeking Clemency and National Leaders to DC for Two Days of Action Urging Pres. Obama to Grant More Clemencies

Media Advisory for: November 14-15, 2016

Contact: Lacy Crawford Jr, 252-292-6088, lacy@megaphonestrategies.com  

Nov 14-15: #cut50 Brings Families Seeking Clemency and National Leaders to DC for Two Days of Action Urging Pres. Obama to Grant More Clemencies

#cut50’s “Hope for the Holidays” Events Will Feature Van Jones, Eric Holder, Gov. Bob Ehrlich, Families Seeking Clemencies, and More

Washington-- On November 14-15, #cut50’s #ClemencyNOW campaign will host “Hope for the Holidays,” a series of events urging President Obama to grant an unprecedented number of clemencies before for the end of his administration.

The President’s clemency initiative was a promise he made to people in federal prison serving unjust and overly harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Despite a historic number of clemencies, thousands of eligible petitioners are still waiting for a decision.

This two day series of events will include a candlelight vigil in front of the White House, a delivery of Change.org petitions for clemency to the Department of Justice, and a series of short talks and panel discussions including a conversation with former Attorney General Eric Holder.

The events will bring a massive groundswell of support —from influencers, artists, reform advocates, formerly incarcerated people, clemency recipients, and others— to support the President as he continues to grant clemency in a momentous and encouraging manner.

Full schedule of events will be released soon.

Monday, November 14 -  6:00 - 7:30 P.M.

What: White HouseCandlelight Vigil

Who: Van Jones, Co-founder of #cut50, Brittany Byrd, #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director, Families with loved ones awaiting Clemency, Clemency recipients and other leaders

When: November 14th, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Where: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

Tuesday, November 15 - 11:00 A.M.

What: U.S. Department of Justice - Press Conference and Delivery of Change.org Clemency Petitions

Who:  Special Guests TBD,Van Jones,Brittany Byrd, #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director, Families with loved ones awaiting clemency and clemency recipients

When: November 15th, 11:00am

Where: Department of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530

Tuesday, November 15 - 6:00 P.M.

What: Hope for the Holidays at Google

Who: Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Van Jones, Michael K Williams, clemency recipients, families seeking clemencies for loved ones, #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director Brittany Byrd, #cut50 National Director Jessica Jackson Sloan.

When: 6:00pm

Where: Google HQ in Washington, DC at 25 Massachusetts Ave NW #900, Washington, DC 20001

To RSVP to any of the events, or for more details, please contact: Lacy@MegaphoneStrategies.com

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#cut50 recently launched the #ClemencyNOW Campaign calling on President Obama to accelerate his administration's review of thousands of pending clemency petitions from nonviolent drug offenders.


#cut50 Applauds President Obama’s Continued Commitment to Clemency

** Family members of people eligible for clemency from President Obama, clemency attorneys, and #cut50 #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director Brittany Byrd are available for interviews. To schedule, please contact Lacy Crawford at Lacy@MegaphoneStrategies.com **

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, in response to President Obama’s recent clemency announcement:

“Today, we applaud President Obama for his continued effort to grant clemency to every deserving individual in federal prison. The President’s clemency initiative was a promise he made to those serving unjust and overly harsh sentences for drug-related offenses. It is imperative that he keep it.

“While today’s announcement means some families will be made whole, many more petitioners were denied - the vast majority denied with no explanation. The clemency process is sorely lacking in transparency - with little regard for the emotional impact these decisions have on individuals and their families. For those who were neither denied nor granted mercy, time is running out. Each passing day brings heightened desperation and anxiety. Some are beginning to lose hope as the clock continues to tick.

"Meaningful criminal justice reform is desperately needed in Congress - but Leadership has failed to act this year. Meanwhile, thousands of drug offenders are languishing in prison under outdated and unduly harsh laws. Clemency from the President is their only hope for freedom.

"We urge the President to continue down this path, granting clemencies in a momentous and encouraging manner. He should leave no deserving individual behind bars when he leaves office.”

#cut50 is planning to escalate its #ClemencyNOW campaign urging President Obama to speed up his clemency initiative starting right after the election. More details will be released early next week. Read more about the campaign at cut50.org/ClemencyNOW


#cut50 Credits President Obama for Helping Lead the Way in Criminal Justice Reform

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, in response to President Obama’s recent clemency announcement:

“Today, we applaud President Obama for his continued effort to grant clemency to every deserving individual in federal prison. The President’s clemency initiative was a promise he made to those serving unjust and overly harsh sentences for drug-related offenses. It is imperative that he keep it.

“While today’s announcement means some families will be made whole, many more petitioners were denied - the vast majority denied with no explanation. The clemency process is sorely lacking in transparency - with little regard for the emotional impact these decisions have on individuals and their families. For those who were neither denied, nor granted mercy, time is running out. Each passing day brings heightened desperation and anxiety. Some are beginning to lose hope as the clock continues to tick.

Meaningful criminal justice reform is desperately needed in Congress - but Leadership has failed to act this year. Meanwhile, thousands of drug offenders are languishing in prison under outdated and unduly harsh laws. Clemency from the President is their only hope for freedom.”

We urge the President to continue down this path, granting clemencies in a momentous and encouraging manner. He should leave no deserving behind by the time he leaves office.”

#cut50 is planning to escalate its #ClemencyNOW campaign urging President Obama to speed up his clemency initiative starting right after the election. More details will be released early next week. Read more about the campaign atcut50.org/ClemencyNOW 


#cut50 Calls on Clinton, Trump to Dive Deeper on Criminal Justice Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 7, 2016

CONTACT: Lacy Crawford | 252-292-6088 |Lacy@MegaphoneStrategies.com

#cut50 Calls on Clinton, Trump to Dive Deeper on Criminal Justice Reform

Key Topics to Address: Biased Policing, Overcrowded Prisons, Harsh Drug Laws, Public Safety, Clemency, and Second Chance Employment

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, on Sunday’s Presidential debate:

“Earlier this week, we saw both VP candidates agree that we need to fix our broken criminal justice system. For me, it was a faint glimmer of hope that our electoral process can yield rational discussions about solutions to our country’s greatest problems.

“At a time when we are so deeply divided, I hope that this Sunday, Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton actually address how they would fix our drug policies and overcrowded prisons. I want to hear more about the strategies they would employ to preserve public safety in America.

“America leads the world in incarceration, with more prisoners by far than any country on the planet. We have a heroin epidemic killing more people this year than car accidents or gun violence. We have 70 million people in America with a criminal record, who face countless barriers to employment, housing and the American dream. These are grave problems of concern to millions of voters.

“Trump promises to restore ‘Law and Order,’ while Hillary has talked about ‘end to end’ reforms. We need to hear more about how they will fix this mess of a criminal justice system.

“Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 102 individuals who were serving extraordinarily long sentences in federal prison for nonviolent drug crimes. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should discuss their plan to fix a federal prison system where nearly 50% of people behind bars are there for drug crimes.

“There is bipartisan agreement that we must invest in education, rehabilitation, and mental health care, rather than prisons. The candidates should both discuss the details of their plans for doing just that on Sunday.”

Note to Press: Jessica Jackson Sloan -- #cut50 National Director, former death row and criminal defense attorney, and judicial nominee expert -- is available for interviews by phone or in-person from San Francisco, CA Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s records and plans on criminal justice issues. To schedule, please contact Lacy Crawford Jr at Lacy@MegaphoneStrategies.com.

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#cut50,­ an initiative of The Dream Corps­, is a national bipartisan effort to smartly and safely reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years.


President Obama Grants Clemency to 102 People, #cut50 Urges Faster Action to Clear the Backlog and Explanation for Denials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 6 2016

CONTACT: Lacy Crawford  | 252-292-6088 | lacy@megaphonestrategies.com

President Obama Grants Clemency to 102 People, #cut50 Urges Faster Action to Clear the Backlog and Explanation for Denials

Washington, DC -- Today, President Obama announced clemencies for 102 deserving people currently behind bars in federal prisons. At the same time, a large numbers of attorneys and imprisoned people eligible for clemency were denied without explanation this week.

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, in response to today’s clemency announcement:

“Today was a mixed bag for families awaiting clemency announcements. At the same time that President Obama granted 102 clemencies, reports poured in from across the country of denials without explanation for candidates who meet all public criteria for clemency. Transparency is the cornerstone of good government, and it is essential that these men and women be told why they were denied the opportunity to become contributing members of society. Instead, they are being left to die in prison or otherwise serve out unjust and overly harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

“While we applaud the President for today’s clemencies -- which take us closer to the DOJ’s recommendation to release every nonviolent drug offender who has spent more than a decade in prison -- we urge the President to keep in mind that time is running out. Thousands of people deserving of a second chance are still in federal prison, and they have served decades for non-violent drug crimes. We hope the President processes all of their clemency applications and begins to issue clemencies at a faster pace.”

Read more about the #ClemencyNow campaign urging President Obama to speed up his clemency initiative at cut50.org/ClemencyNOW


Note to Press: Families of people currently eligible for clemency are available for interviews alongside #cut50 National Director Jessica Jackson Sloan and clemency attorney and #cut50 #ClemencyNOW campaign manager Brittany Byrd. To schedule, please contact Lacy Crawford Jr at Lacy@megaphonestrategies.com.

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#cut50,­ an initiative of The Dream Corps­, is a national bipartisan effort to smartly and safely reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years.


#cut50 Statement on New RNC Criminal Justice Attack Ad Ahead of VP Debate

Contact:Lacy Crawford | 252-292-6088 | Lacy@MegaphoneStrategies.com

#cut50 Statement on New RNC Criminal Justice Attack Ad Ahead of VP Debate

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, on Republican National Committee attack ad:

“The latest Republican National Committee’s attack ad against Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine shows their complete failure to comprehend the Constitution and their disrespect for those of us fighting to protect it.

The ad, titled “America deserves better”, highlights Tim Kaine’s record as a public defense attorney, during which he represented clients who faced the death penalty.  In America, everyone who is charged with a crime- no matter how heinous- has the right to have an attorney assist in their defense against those charges.  

Having represented death row inmates myself, I know how crucial it is to our criminal justice system that all sides have a meaningful opportunity to present their evidence in order for the jury or judge to make their conclusion.  I also know how trying it can be to work these cases- the long hours, the low pay, and the responsibility of ensuring your client’s story is heard.  Tim Kaine is a true public servant for stepping up and taking on these difficult cases.

The RNC’s attack is also woefully out of step with growing conservative opposition to the death penalty.  Many conservatives have realized that the death penalty not only risks executing innocent individuals, but is also an enormous waste of precious resources.  These resources would be better spent preventing crimes and solving crimes than seeking retribution by execution. ”

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#cut50,­ an initiative of The Dream Corps­, is a national bipartisan effort to smartly and safely reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years.

 


#cut50’s Response to Criminal Justice Reform in Presidential Debate

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, on criminal justice in the first 2016 presidential debate:

“Let’s be clear: crime in America today is at near-historic lows. But the last time candidates ran on ‘law and order’ we ended up incarcerating millions of people -- tearing apart communities and wasting billions of dollars along the way.

“Most criminal justice reform experts overwhelmingly oppose stop and frisk -- which was objectively a failure and ruled unconstitutional in the courts. It is a policy that erodes trust between police and the communities they serve, undermining the very foundation of justice.

“It is possible to create a safer America -- we can do that by investing in education, rehabilitation, and mental health care - not with more arrests and prison cells.

We do that by reforming mandatory minimum sentencing, ending institutional racism in our criminal justice system, stopping the use of private prisons, and expanding second chance programs.”

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#cut50,­ an initiative of The Dream Corps­, is a national bipartisan effort to smartly and safely reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years.

 


Response to the recent news that a historic criminal justice reform vote would be delayed until after the 2016 elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 16th, 2016

CONTACT: Lacy Crawford | 252-292-6088 | Lacy@MegaphoneStrategies.com

Washington, DC -- Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, in response to the recent news that a historic criminal justice reform vote would be delayed until after the 2016 elections:   

“Today, politics got in the way of progress and the hopes of thousands of families and individuals were dashed with this devastating news.” said Jessica Jackson, National Director and co-founder of #cut50.

“It’s truly unfortunate that despite all the bipartisan agreement, supportive evidence, and expressed will of voters Congress can’t seem to find the political courage to move this forward in a timely fashion.

Our leaders in Congress may be OK with waiting, but children separated from their mothers and fathers are not.

The federal prison system is overflowing with low-level drug offenders. The $700 million in cost-savings that would come from these reforms would be much better spent addressing the underlying cause of the crime like addiction, mental illness, and poverty rather than keeping these people behind bars. ”

Polling data shows that voters and victims of crime support reform:

Voters across demographic groups and party lines support significant changes to federal criminal justice laws, especially as they apply to drug offenses, according to a poll released in February by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Nearly 80 percent favor ending mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and that more than three-quarters support eliminating federal mandatory minimums in all cases.

In August, Alliance for Safety and Justice released the first-of-its-kind National Survey of Victims’ Views:

  • By a margin of nearly 3 to 1, victims believe that prison makes people more likely to commit crimes than to rehabilitate them

  • By a margin of 7 to 1, victims prefer increased investments in crime prevention and programs for at-risk youth over more investments in prisons and jails

  • 6 in 10 victims prefer shorter prison sentences and more spending on prevention and rehabilitation to prison sentences that keep people incarcerated for as long as possible

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#cut50 is a program of The Dream Corps, an organization that links economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators inside a single organization, and supercharges their strategies with world-class partnerships, smart digital tools and national media access.


#cut50 Praises President Obama for Clemencies, Urges President to Keep Up the Pace

Washington, DC -- Today, President Obama announced clemencies for 111 deserving people currently behind bars in federal prisons.

Statement from Jessica Jackson Sloan, National Director of #cut50, in response to President Obama’s recent clemency announcement:

“Today President Obama took another huge step in the right direction by granting 111 clemencies -- adding up to over 400 clemencies in one historic month. These individuals have no significant history of criminal activity, have never committed a violent act, and yet have been incarcerated for more than a decade.  We urge the President to continue to grant clemencies at the pace he has been this month so that no man or woman who is eligible for release, has to die in prison”

Statement from Brittany Byrd, clemency recipient Darryl Lamar Reed’s lawyer and #ClemencyNow Campaign Director for #cut50:

“There is nothing like hearing a mother’s tears of joy at the news that her son is coming home after nearly three decades in prison.  We are thrilled that today the President will allow my client Darryl Lamar Reed and 110 deserving others to go home. Darryl has spent over 27 years behind bars for a nonviolent drug offense. He has been in prison since he was only 20 years old. The President’s gracious act of mercy today is encouraging. We urge him to continue to grant clemencies at historic numbers to ensure no one who meets his criteria is left behind bars when he leaves office.”

As part of President Obama’s clemency initiative, his Department of Justice issued guidelinesto release nonviolent drug offenders.  The initiative has granted more clemencies than the past 10 presidents combined, to a total of 673 deserving individuals. But hundreds if not thousands more people fit the criteria for safe release. And for them, time is running out.

Read more about the #ClemencyNow campaign urging President Obama to speed up his clemency initiative at cut50.org/ClemencyNOW

#cut50’s #ClemencyNow campaign launched earlier this month to urge the president to:  

  • Speed up his clemency initiative to ensure that every eligible person is released before he leaves office. The Bureau of Justice estimates that at least 2,000 eligible people are currently behind bars.

  • Triple the resources dedicated to his clemency initiative.

  • Issue an Executive Order placing the Office of the Pardon Attorney within the White House, reporting directly to the President -- eliminating unnecessary, multi-level bureaucratic review.

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#cut50 is a program of The Dream Corps, an non-profit organization that supports economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators. The Dream Corps supercharges changemaking strategies with world-class partnerships, smart digital tools and national media access.



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