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New Guidelines Could Make Pardons Reflect American Society

Have you ever been forgiven by someone? It’s a humbling experience. Mom and Dad normally forgive all of our transgressions and chalk it up to learning from our mistakes. How about your eighth-grade teacher who you hit with a spitball? You might have received a one-day detention and then they let it go. Again, kids will live and learn. Forgiveness seems to diminish as we grow older not just from our parents but from society in general. Simple transgressions turn into divorces and lengthy jail terms. Poor people seem to have the worst track record of forgiveness. They have the fastest rising divorce rate and the highest rate of incarceration. Poor people in America need to be part of the bargaining prices for pardons to influence society to find remorse for our struggling neighbors. Women and minorities are largely ignored in the pardon process but that can all change. 

People across America had nothing less than venom from President Trump’s recent pardons of rich white males. Sure the few people he chose to pardon we’re rich and influential at one time but their lives have now changed. We doubt any of them will become poor or even worse the rural poor but they were forgiven anyway. The American pardon process does not take into account the socio-economics of prisoners which eliminates the largest swath of incarcerated people. 

Studies have shown that the mass of incarcerated people is poor so our guidelines for pardons should include that. Currently, state pardon guidelines don’t include race, gender, or socioeconomic background yet there is always a huge difference between who is released and who is kept. Even in states the governor’s tend to release middle-class and upper-class males of non-violent crimes in financial crimes. A majority of poor people are imprisoned for financial crimes and violent crimes related to poverty. It only makes sense that pardons match the people and we need to enforce equality of all people. 

The state and presidential pardon guidelines could be amended to include socioeconomic background, sex, and race. 

Poor people should be the same percentage of releases as the state’s poor population in prison. We cannot continue to keep poor people in prison just because they aren’t in the upper echelons of society like the politicians that are granting the pardons. Gender must be included as well as a percentage of all pardons besides poverty. If women are 50% of the human population than they should be 50% of all pardons granted either by the state or the president. Within that 50% of females in the pardon process, there should be a poor percentage similar to the males that are released. For example, if 200 women are pardoned or receive clemency or a reprieve at least 100 of those women must have a below the federal poverty line socio-economic background. Minorities must also be released similarly to their percentage of the population in the state. If Black males are 47% of death row inmates yet only 13% of the US population we need to commute at least 13% of them if not more.

We the People can begin to make a positive impact through petitions, discussions and possible ballot initiatives. As our children grow older we could see the light that not everyone is treated equally under the law or by the law. Our American poor have always been a vital part of our workforce, school systems, and families. And everybody comes from a mother. Our minority prisoners deserve equal protection and treatment, it’s actually already a Constitutional amendment we could enforce. With our help, state and presidential pardons can all be amended to firmly reflect the real American society.  Our society.

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