President Joe Biden will issue his first pardons on Tuesday to three people, including a former Secret Service agent, and will reduce the sentences of 75 others to mark the start of Clemency and Second Chance Month.
The effort focuses attention on reducing sentences for non-violent drug crimes ahead of the nation’s November midterm elections.
“Today, I am pardoning three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities,” Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I am also commuting the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVID-pandemic—and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act,” he added.
Among the three people to be pardoned is Abraham Bolden, “an 86-year-old former U.S. Secret Service agent and was the first African American to serve on a presidential detail. In 1964, Mr. Bolden was charged with offenses related to attempting to sell a copy of a Secret Service file.”
Biden will also pardon Betty Jo Bogans of Houston, Texas. A statement from the White House says Bogan “is a 51-year-old woman who was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in the Southern District of Texas after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice, neither of whom were detained or arrested.”
Dexter Jackson, 52, from Atlanta, Georgia, is the third person who will be pardoned by the president. “Mr. Jackson was not personally involved in trafficking marijuana, but allowed marijuana distributors to use his pool hall to facilitate drug transactions,” the White House noted.
Most of the 75 individuals listed for reduced sentencing in the White House statement were convicted for non-violent drug offenses.
In addition to issuing three pardons and commuting the sentences of dozens of others, Biden will introduce a series of policies in a $145 million job training program for federal prisons.
The White House is calling the Department of Justice and Department of Labor partnership “a first-of-its-kind collaboration to invest $145 million over FY22-FY23 to provide job skills training and individualized employment and reentry plans for people incarcerated in Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities, and to provide pathways for a seamless transition to employment and reentry support upon release.”
Biden also addressed the pardons as part of America’s focus on second chances.
“America is a nation of laws and second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation. During Second Chance Month, I am using my authority under the Constitution to uphold those values by pardoning and commuting the sentences of fellow Americans,” he wrote.
America is a nation of laws and second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation. During Second Chance Month, I am using my authority under the Constitution to uphold those values by pardoning and commuting the sentences of fellow Americans.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 26, 2022