Newsbrief: Nader Calls on Bush to Grant Clemency to Drug War Prisoners 10/29/04

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Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader called in an October 24 letter for President Bush to grant clemency to some 30,000 nonviolent federal drug offenders. The call echoed the effort by Jubilee 2000 (http://www.jubileeusa.org), a social justice network, to get then President Bill Clinton to grant similar clemencies.

Clinton was not listening. As a last minute gesture before he left office, he pardoned a grand total of 21 drug offenders, many of them the beneficiaries of well-organized and well-publicized efforts to win their freedom (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/170/21free.shtml). There is little indication Bush will listen any more closely. He has been consistent in his disinterest in providing clemency to drug offenders -- or almost anyone else, for that matter.

The Nader letter mentioned President Bush's substance abuse problems and noted that if he had been incarcerated for cocaine use he "probably would not have gone on to have the career you have had." The letter also highlighted the rapid expansion of the prison system in the United States which now houses more than 2.1 million people, one-quarter of the world's prison population. Clemency for nonviolent drug offenders would save more than $1 billion annually, Nader claimed.

"It is urgent that the US reverse the incarceration binge," Nader wrote. "The US Department of Justice estimates that if incarceration rates remain unchanged an estimated 1 of every 20 Americans and greater than one in four African Americans can be expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime," said Nader. "It is time to make the failed war on drugs a central issue in the American political dialogue. For too long we have let this injustice continue to grow unhindered. Taking action on clemency at the federal level will set an example for the states and begin the process of reversing this failed policy."

Read the letter in full at http://www.votenader.org/media_press/index.php?cid=317 online.

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Issue #360, 10/29/04 On the Ballot: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Sentencing Reform | Marijuana Arrests at All-Time High, Far Exceed Violent Crime Arrests | Latin American Anti-Prohibitionist Umbrella Organization Forms, Eyes UN 2008 Vienna Meeting | African American Professional Groups Move Into Drug Reform Arena | Newsbrief: Former Interpol Chief Calls Prohibition "Obsolete and Dangerous" | Newsbrief: Prohibitionist Bush Supporters "Expose and Oppose" Soros | Newsbrief: New Jersey Governor Bypasses Legislature, Okays Needle Exchange Programs By Executive Order | Newsbrief: Nader Calls on Bush to Grant Clemency to Drug War Prisoners | Newsbrief: Baltimore Cops Offer Minor Drug Suspects Freedom for Guns | Newsbrief: US-Canada Joint Border Drug Threat Assessment Says BC Bud Only Two Percent of US Marijuana Imports | Newsbrief: Fiji Islands in Grip of Reefer Madness | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month | Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet! | Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar
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