News Release

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Praises Recent Biden Administration Commutations, Pardons, and Reentry Initiatives, Calls on White House to Increase Clemency Grants

Washington, DC (April 26, 2022) – Today, the Biden administration granted three pardons, commuted 75 sentences, and announced a series of initiatives to support meaningful second chances for formerly incarcerated individuals. These initiatives include job training for those incarcerated in federal prisons and expanded access to critical services such as education, healthcare, and housing for those returning from prison. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) commends these efforts and calls on the White House to continue to exercise its clemency powers to remedy past injustices including unduly harsh and inhumane sentences.

"Clemency restores freedom to those who have earned the chance, to their families, and to their communities. Clemency empowers the President to correct injustices suffered during decades of mass incarceration. Clemency coupled with transitional social support promotes successful reentry, thereby strengthening our communities," said NACDL President Martín Sabelli. "Today’s announcements reaffirm our commitment to bring justice to those who remain incarcerated despite working hard to turn their lives around. As we celebrate the President’s work today, we will not forget those still languishing in our prisons as a result of unjust, counterproductive, and inhumane sentencing practices. We therefore call upon President Biden to exercise his clemency powers to correct unjust sentences which continue to devastate lives."

NACDL has long advocated for and been committed to helping individuals in our nation’s prisons seek the type of life-saving relief President Biden granted today. NACDL has been highlighting the voices of those impacted by the criminal legal system, and the challenges they face. Learn more and hear their words. NACDL’s Return to Freedom Project helps those serving overly harsh sentences by working with partner organizations to recruit, train, and support pro bono volunteers to secure clemency, compassionate release, or expungement. The projects under the Return to Freedom banner include the Excessive Sentence Project, the Trial Penalty Clemency Project, the Cannabis Justice Initiative, and other clemency and compassionate release efforts. Learn more about the Return to Freedom Project and get involved today. This work is supported by the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice.

"NACDL is elated for the individuals who will finally be granted relief and returned to their loved ones and applauds the announced reentry initiatives, which will connect returning citizens with the resources they need and so greatly deserve," said NACDL Executive Director Lisa Wayne. "Yet we cannot forget how many deserving applicants are serving overly harsh sentences, awaiting action by the President, so they can be safely returned to freedom. Second chance resources are an important part of the equation, but they cannot bring home the many more people currently incarcerated who deserve an early release and whose families desperately await their return."

More information on the Administration’s reentry resources is available here.


Jessie Diamond, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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