ACLU Releases Polling Indicating Strong Support for Clemency

Polling Release Coincides with House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Clemency

May 19, 2022 5:15 pm

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WASHINGTON — Today the American Civil Liberties Union released new polling indicating widespread, bipartisan support for categorical use of clemency, and provided a statement for the record on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security’s hearing on clemency commending Subcommittee Chair Lee, Vice Chair Bush, and others for their attention to the power of clemency as a tool for redemption and repair.

The polling shows 68 percent of voters including: 81% of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and 52 percent of Republicans support “ending or shortening the prison sentences of certain individuals in prison if they were to meet selected criteria and determined not to pose a threat to public safety.” Moreover, 82 percent of the respondents believe that as laws change, people convicted under outdated laws should be given a chance to go home via clemency.

Udi Ofer, deputy national political director of the ACLU, issued the following statement on the polling and subcommittee meeting:

“Today’s polling shows the strong public support for a variety of people to be returned safely to their homes, and this sentiment was echoed in the careful attention of many members of the House Subcommittee during today’s clemency hearing. Voters are hungry for bold action on clemency.

“We thank the House Judiciary Subcommittee for holding its hearing today. We also thank President Biden for his initial grant of clemency to 78 people, but much more is needed. President Biden and the Office of the Pardon Attorney must prioritize the use of clemency to provide people a chance to return to their families and communities.

“Too many people in our nation, disproportionately people of color, face incarceration under unjust laws or sentences and are needlessly separated from their families and loved ones. The ACLU is urging the administration to adopt a categorical approach to clemency, creating a rebuttable presumption of release for people who fit a specific criteria. President Biden has both the authority and public support to correct long-standing injustices and provide relief from outdated laws and penalties by safely releasing people from prison.”

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