PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Barack Obama granted early release to 102 inmates Thursday.
Jose Ramon Rivas, Mark Louis Katzin, Sr., John Purcell and Julio Figueroa were on the list, and are all from the Philadelphia area.
Deborah Gramicconi represented Rivas in his petition to the President.
“Mr. Rivas makes the perfect candidate for clemency, based on the great things he did in prison,” she said.
She runs The Mercy Project at New York University, a network of legal professionals working to give non-violent offenders a second chance. “We have to show that these individuals demonstrated good behavior in prision, and have a meaningful re-entry plan,” said Gramicconi.
She says to be granted clemency, the candidate must be a non-violent offender, with no history of violence. “They (can’t) have any ties to large-scale criminal organization, they can’t have any gang ties. They can’t have any ties to gang organizations.”
Each candidate must also present a re-entry plan in the petition.
“For example, who are they going to live with, where are they going to work. Who is going to essentially ensure that their transition out of prison is as smooth as possible,” Gramicconi explained. “Family is core to the re-entry plan.”
The petitions are then filed to Office of Pardon Attorney, who makes recommendations to the President. If granted, each inmate must first serve 10 years of their sentence.
President Obama has now commuted 774 inmates this year, more than the last 11 Presidents combined.