The American Civil Liberties Union is launching a multi-year initiative to release 50,000 inmates from prisons across the U.S. in response to what the group calls "systemic injustice."
"The Redemption Campaign" seeks to "liberate" tens of thousands of prisoners by lobbying state governors to grant mass clemency that will eradicate "decades of racist, punitive, and degrading incarceration," the group's "embracing clemency" report reads.
"Across the country, people are rising up to demand change. They are calling for an end to the systemic racism that has defined so much of the American experience, particularly in the criminal legal system," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said. "There are 1.3 million people trapped in state prisons, most of whom are Black and Brown and all of whom are being denied real opportunity for hope, healing, and redemption. Governors across the country could — and must — bring an end to this, and many of them have the power to do that unilaterally through the power of clemency."
Groups targeted for clemency include:
- Older incarcerated people
- People convicted of drug distribution and possession offenses
- People incarcerated for technical probation or parole violations
- People who would have received a lesser sentence if convicted under current laws
According to ACLU, of the 1.3 million people incarcerated in state prisons, "hundreds of thousands" are "trapped by extraordinarily long and punitive sentences that were never warranted in the first place."