STANFORD, Calif., December 18, 2015 – The Stanford Law School Justice Advocacy Project announced today a new program developed at the law school to support the White House’s criminal justice efforts by providing reentry assistance to federal prisoners who receive executive clemency from President Obama.
The announcement of the Stanford prisoner reentry program comes on the same day that the president commuted sentences for 95 federal inmates serving long prison terms for nonviolent crimes. It is believed to be the largest number of sentence commutations ever issued by any president in a single day. As of today, President Obama has commuted the sentences of 184 prisoners. A New York Times article published today mentions the Stanford program.
The Stanford program announced today will assist those prisoners and support the White House’s clemency initiative. The Stanford Law School Justice Advocacy Project will expand its “Ride Home” prisoner reentry program to provide its unique services to prisoners released by the president. Started in 2013, the Ride Home program meets prisoners at the prison gates, assists them with basic needs during their immediate transition out of prison, and drives the released prisoners to a pre-approved halfway house. The Ride Home program’s work in California was recently featured in The New York Times Magazine.
“I want to thank Stanford for expanding its ‘Ride Home’ reentry project to assist the president’s clemency recipients. The road ahead for those who receive clemency can be a hard one. Many recipients never even expected to return to a life outside of prison. We are appreciative that the Stanford Ride Home team will be there to offer support and resources,” said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston.
“We are excited to be expanding our program to support prisoners freed by President Obama and are grateful for and inspired by the leadership provided by the White House in reevaluating unnecessary prison sentences. We hope our program can be a model for other reentry efforts as the country confronts the problem of mass incarceration and helps safely reintegrate released prisoners to their families and communities,” said Michael Romano, director of the Stanford Law School Justice Advocacy Project.
“I am eternally grateful to President Obama for my freedom and to the Stanford program for being there for me and help in showing me the way. They help take a lot of pressure off leaving prison and are helping me appreciate and take advantage of my new freedom,” said Norman Brown, who was sentenced to life without parole for a nonviolent drug crime in 1991 and freed by executive clemency on November 11, 2015.
The Stanford Law School Justice Advocacy Project is comprised of experienced attorneys and Stanford law students who assist in all aspects of the Project’s work, including litigation, policy reform and its new focus on prisoner reentry. The Ride Home program was founded two years ago to assist prisoners freed under California’s Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Proposition 36), which the Project helped enact. The Justice Advocacy Project works with a number of other organizations, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, the Amity Foundation and Options Recovery Services.