Joe Biden pardons crack dealers to improve 'public safety'

 April 26, 2024

Joe Biden pardoned drug dealers on Wednesday, as he tries to patch cracks in his coalition ahead of a daunting re-election battle.

The clemency order was framed by the White House as benefiting "non-violent offenders," but that description downplayed the fact that Biden forgave some serious criminals, including five crack dealers.

Biden pardons crack dealers

Biden pardoned 11 people and commuted the sentences of five others to commemorate "Second Chance Month."

“I am using my clemency power to pardon 11 individuals and commute the sentences of 5 individuals who were convicted of non-violent drug offenses,” Biden said.

“America is a Nation founded on the promise of second chances. During Second Chance Month, we reaffirm our commitment to rehabilitation and reentry for people returning to their communities post incarceration,” he said in a statement.

“We also recommit to building a criminal justice system that lives up to those ideals and ensures that everyone receives equal justice under law. That is why today I am announcing steps I am taking to make this promise a reality.”

It's Biden's latest effort to win over progressives who argue minorities face unfair punishment for drug offenses.

Oddly, Biden said his move demonstrates his commitment to rectifying "racial disparities and improving public safety."

It's unclear how going soft on drug dealers "improves public safety," but Biden did not elaborate.

Biden's left turn

Biden's views on drug policy have moved starkly leftward since his years in the Senate, where he helped pass strict anti-drug laws.

When he ran for president in 2020, Biden still held onto views on marijuana that many Democrats considered archaic.

But he has made efforts to align with the left of his party, issuing a pardon for thousands of cannabis offenders in December.

Biden said the recipients of his latest clemency order had received longer sentences than they would have under current law, and that they had "demonstrated their commitment to improving their lives and positively transforming their communities."

The pardon reflects the political balancing act that Biden is trying to pull off in an election year in which crime is a dominant concern.

Biden has attempted to fend off criticism of his party's record on crime from President Trump, but Biden is still beholden to a progressive base that wants a more lenient criminal justice system.

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