*We’ve got approximately 21 days before we head to the polls to choose a new POTUS, but President Barack Obama is working up until the very last minute to reform the criminal justice system he began working on months back. But the issue has been with him for much longer. And according to an article in The Washington Post he shared…
“Since my first campaign, I’ve talked about how, in too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails.”
And he made good on his word in August 2016, when he commuted the prison sentences of federal 214 inmates (in a single day) who were locked up on drug charges — some of whom were to be locked up for life.
And as of this writing, according to The Daily News, the total number of commuted sentences has gone up to 775; with 102 of them occuring just last week.
But POTUS says he ain’t finished yet! Before he leaves office he aims to reform the amount of child support payments prisoners are carrying in debt.
In an August statement, Justice Department deputy Sally Q. Yates said, “In just the first eight months of 2016, the President has more than doubled the number of commutations granted in all of 2015. But we are not done yet, and we expect that many more men and women will be given a second chance through the Clemency Initiative.”
Obama has become increasingly diligent in his efforts to reform what he has acknowledged as a “a long history of inequity in the criminal justice system in America.” He has also noted that this inequity is predominately affecting people of color.
Now by reforming the parental support payments of prisons; and making these payments more realistic to a prisoner’s earnings.
According to Reuters, the new regulations, if put in place, would allow incarcerated parents to modify or lower the amount of child support they pay in prison. The goal of the reform is to reduce the large amounts of debt incurred by prisoners who struggle to pay thousands in back child support upon their release.
For most, the inability to make child support payments ultimately lands them back in prison.
Of course there are critics of this yet to be finalized executive order.
Some Republicans are against it saying the changes would allow the inmates to shuck their responsibility as parents. According to a Reuters report, the criminal justice reform was supposed to be a bi-partisan issue that both Democrats and Republicans worked to resolve. Before the legislative efforts for such reforms stalled on Capitol Hill.
An unidentified White house official said, “We are always happy to sit down and talk with Congress, but at some point we have to move forward with what we know we are legally permitted to do and what is right.”
Apparently, most states have changed their laws, and allow prisoners to modify their child support payments. But 14 states are still stalling; and don’t allow incarcerated parents to make such changes — or they make it incredibly hard for them to do so.
“We have two decades of evidence that says that being tough just hasn’t worked,” Glenn Martin, a formerly incarcerated parent, said of the U.S. child support system and the rules that govern it. “What it has done is further criminalize the people we should be trying to move into the labor market.”
Although states are basically allowed to make their own rules on the issues, Washington has the final word to set a national mandate.
The new regulations, drafted by the Obama administration in 2014, would require states to let prisoners modify their court-ordered child support payments, according to Reuters. They would also require that state courts set payment orders based on inmates’ real income.
Seems fair to me. I mean, a prisoner making a nickel a day is not going to be able to pay much in child support, no?
Can’t wait to see how this works out.
Why are the devilish functions tapping my shoulder saying don’t put it past folks who are not incarcerated and in such debt, to actually use this leniency as an excuse to go to prison.
Just thinking out loud.
Don’t mind me.