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Biden to commute sentences of 31 nonviolent drug offenders, releases new rehabilitation plan

The White House announced Friday that President Biden will commute the sentences of 31 nonviolent drug offenders, alongside the launch of a new administration strategy aimed to improve rehabilitation in jails and prisons.

The 31 Americans serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are all on home confinement, a White House official said, adding they have demonstrated rehabilitation and have made contributions to their community.

The White House will release the names of those receiving commuted sentences later Friday.

In addition to the commutations, the administration is marking Second Chance Month in April by rolling out a plan seeking to support those exiting the criminal justice system with options for health care, employment, education, housing and other services.

The effort — the Alternatives, Rehabilitation, and Reentry Strategic Plan — will “strengthen public safety by reducing unnecessary criminal justice system interactions so police officers can focus on fighting crime; supporting rehabilitation during incarceration; and facilitating successful reentry,” according to the White House.

White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, who Biden announced this week would soon step down from her role, told reporters “far too many” Americans getting out of jail or with a criminal history record “face deep barriers to getting a job.”

“When a crime occurs, a sentence should both reflect the seriousness of the crime and provide a chance of meeting at rehabilitation and successful reentry,” she said.

The plan will involve 100 actions from more than 20 agencies.

As part of the push, the Education Department will work to allow about 760,000 people to become eligible for Pell Grants through prison education programs and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will allow Medicaid coverage for select services for some incarcerated people in the period shortly before their expected release.

The plan overall will work to expand access to health care, affordable housing, education opportunity, food benefits, job opportunities and banking to promote public safety. And the White House said it will work to reduce barriers to voting for eligible people with public safety and supporting “justice-involved persons” in mind.

The Safer American Plan, released in August, was aimed at combating gun crime and violence, and the White House said this effort builds on that.

Biden has worked to show he is focused on combatting crime and supporting police while Republicans have consistently blamed him for rising crime in cities across the country.

Source: The Hill

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