US President Joe Biden has exercised his powers for the first time in his term to pardon convicts and shorten prison terms. The White House announced Tuesday that Biden has pardoned three people and reduced the prison terms of 75 others.
According to the White House, the three people who have been pardoned have already served their prison terms. In such cases, this concerns, for example, the lifting of any restrictions or criminal sanctions that apply to ex-offenders. The goal is also to rehabilitate one’s reputation publicly.
In the remaining 75 cases, dozens of sentences of non-violent drug criminals are shortened. “Some of them are parents and should be allowed to be with their families again,” the White House said. “Some had also faced tough challenges in their lives. And those involved had shown their commitment to taking advantage of a second chance.”
Among those who have been pardoned is a former Secret Service member. According to the White House, Abraham Bolden, now 87 years old, was the first African American to serve in a presidential protection unit. In 1964, he was charged with attempting to sell classified Secret Service documents. He was eventually sentenced to several years in prison. Bolden has always maintained his innocence, arguing that he had become the target of internal retaliation after colleagues exposed unprofessional and racist behaviour. Bolden had been asking for a pardon for decades.
A US president can pardon convicts under federal law – even after serving a sentence. Biden stressed on Tuesday that his administration would consider further requests for leniency.