Tags: nfl | players | trump | nonviolent | drug sentences

NFL Players Urge Trump to Soften Nonviolent Drug Sentences

NFL Players Urge Trump to Soften Nonviolent Drug Sentences
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By    |   Thursday, 21 June 2018 12:40 PM

Four current and former NFL players have a message for President Donald Trump: America's prison system needs an overhaul.

Responding to Trump's request that football players reach out to him about prisoners who he could potentially pardon, Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins, and Benjamin Watson wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times and provided some ideas.

After providing statistics about nonviolent prisoners receiving de facto life sentences or sentences that are too harsh for drug crimes, the foursome concluded that Trump could order the release of thousands of prisoners.

"President Trump could order the release of any drug offender over the age of 60 whose conviction is not recent. That would be the morally right thing to do," they wrote.

"Apart from using the pardon power, there are policies the president and the attorney general could implement to help. For instance, they could eliminate life without parole for nonviolent offenses.

"Currently, more than half of those sentenced to die in federal prison are there for nonviolent offenses, and 30 percent of people sentenced to life (or de facto life) are there for a nonviolent drug crimes. Compare that with the state level: only 2 percent of those sentenced to life (or de facto life) are there for drug offenses."

The athletes are part of the Players Coalition, an advocacy group made up of NFL players.

Trump has clashed with the NFL over some players' decision not to stand for the playing of the National Anthem the last two seasons. But he scored points among people calling for prison reform by pardoning Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence stemming from a nonviolent drug conviction.

The NFL players who authored the Times piece said that was a good start.

"Of the roughly 185,000 people locked up in federal prisons, about 79,000 are there for drug offenses of some kind — and 13.5 percent of them have sentences of 20 years or more," the players wrote.

"Imagine how many more Alice Johnsons the president could pardon if he treated the issue like the systemic problem it is, rather than asking professional football players for a few cases."

The Trump administration has pledged to take on prison reform, an effort spearheaded by senior adviser Jared Kushner. 

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Four current and former NFL players have a message for President Donald Trump: America's prison system needs an overhaul.
nfl, players, trump, nonviolent, drug sentences
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2018-40-21
Thursday, 21 June 2018 12:40 PM
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