New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announces clemency program that will make some criminals eligible for early release from prison

NEWARK, New Jersey – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy used the June 16 holiday to announce the creation of a novel clemency program that will allow some juvenile non-violent offenders, as well as victims of domestic violence and others, to apply to leave prison early.

The program aims to address mass incarceration, racial injustice and parole policies that make it harder for people to make a fresh start after they leave prison, supporters say. The clemency board will review petitions and make recommendations to Murphy regarding pardons and commutations.

“We and I are looking for people who have been rehabilitated or who could give back to their communities, but instead are unfairly held back by our criminal justice system,” Murphy said at an event Wednesday in St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark.

“As governor, I will use my clemency powers to address these injustices,” he said.

Persons who have committed a crime before the age of 25 and have not committed it again are eligible for accelerated control. Others include victims of sexual violence or sex trafficking who have committed crimes against their perpetrators; people sentenced to long sentences during the “war on drugs”; people who received longer sentences than those offered after exercising their right to a trial; and perpetrators who have not committed violence are nearing the end of their sentences.

Murphy, a Democrat, signed the executive order creating the program at an event where he was joined by rapper Robert “Meek Mill” Williams and activist and entrepreneur Wallace “Wallo267” People.

The two spent years entangled in the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. Peeples said he was first arrested for robbery at the age of 11.

“Since that day, June 30, 1990, I have never been on parole or parole. I will be released from parole in 2040,” he said.

Nevertheless, he found success in music, business and entertainment, he said, making him a proud entrepreneur – and taxpayer – in New Jersey.

“I say this to say this: The opportunities after prison are amazing,” Peeples said.

Since taking office in 2018, Murphy has not considered any clemency applications. Justin Dews, a lawyer who will serve as chairman of the Pardon Advisory Board, said the process would be fair to both petitioners and victims and their families.

“Our work will be based on integrity, not influence. Clemency is not reserved for the privileged and well-connected,” Dews said.

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