Criminal Justice Reform

Excerpts from 7/14/15 President Obama’s remarks at the 2015 NAACP Conference:

“The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s.

We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined.

In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America — half a million people in 1980. In 2015 there are 2.2 million.  It has quadrupled since 1980.  Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone.

Studies show that up to a certain point, tougher prosecutors and stiffer sentences for these violent offenders contributed to the decline in violent crime over the last few decades.  Although the science also indicates that you get a point of diminishing returns.  But it is important for us to recognize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically, in fact, the African American community oftentimes was under-policed rather than over-policed.  Folks were very interested in containing the African American community so it couldn’t leave segregated areas, but within those areas there wasn’t enough police presence.

Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before.   And that is the real reason our prison population is so high.  In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime.  If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society.  You have to be held accountable and make amends.  But you don’t owe 20 years.  You don’t owe a life sentence.  That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.

[United States] taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price.  Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion.  Now, just to put that in perspective, for $80 billion, we could have universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America.  That’s what $80 billion buys.  For $80 billion, we could double the salary of every high school teacher in America.  For $80 billion, we could finance new roads and new bridges and new airports, job training programs, research and development.  We’re about to get in a big budget debate in Washington — what I couldn’t do with $80 billion. For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities.”

For the entire transcript: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/remarks-president-naacp-conference

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President Obama remarks on “Black Lives Matter” is a social media movement

“ I want to drive home one point, and that is the relationship between race and the criminal justice system, because this is where sometimes politics intrudes.

“Black Lives Matter” is a social media movement that had tried to gel around Ferguson and the Eric Gardner case and some other cases that came up. And very rapidly, it was posited as being in opposition to the police. And sometimes, like any of these loose organizations, some people pop off and say dumb things. And on the other hand, though, it started being lifted up as these folks are opposed to police and they’re opposed to cops, and all lives matter. So the notion was somehow saying black lives matter was reverse racism, or suggesting that other people’s lives didn’t matter, police officers’ lives didn’t matter.

And whenever we get bogged down in that kind of discussion, we know where that goes. That’s just down the old track. So let me just suggest this. I think everybody understands all lives matter. Everybody wants strong, effective law enforcement. Everybody wants their kids to be safe when they’re walking to school. Nobody wants to see police officers, who are doing their job fairly, hurt. Everybody understands it’s a dangerous job.

I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase “Black lives matter” was not because they said they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter; rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.

I forget which French writer said there was a law that was passed that really was equal because both rich and poor were forbidden from stealing loaves of bread and sleeping under the bridge. That’s not a good definition of equality.

There is a specific concern as to whether African Americans are sometimes not treated in particular jurisdictions fairly or subject to excessive force more frequently. I think it’s important for those who are concerned about that to back it up with data, not anecdote; to not paint with a broad brush; to understand the overwhelming majority of law enforcement is doing the right thing and wants to do the right thing; to recognize that police officers have a really tough job and we’re sending them into really tough neighborhoods that sometimes are really dangerous, and they’ve got to make split-second decisions. And so we shouldn’t be too sanctimonious about situations that sometimes can be ambiguous.

But having said all that, we as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously. And one of the ways of avoiding the politics of this and losing the moment is everybody just stepping back for a second and understanding that the African American community is not just making this up, and it’s not just something being politicized; it’s real and there’s a history behind it. And we have to take it seriously. And it’s incumbent then on the activist to also take seriously the tough job that police have. And that’s one of the things that the post-Ferguson task force did. We had activists who were marching in Ferguson with police chiefs and law enforcement, sitting down and figuring this stuff out.

And just assuming good faith in other people — going to the issue of people being cynical — I think is important. I’ve rarely gotten much accomplished assuming the worst in other people. Usually it works better if I assume the best. So I just wanted to make that point.’

10/22/15 President Obama 
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FACT SHEET: Enhancing the Fairness and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System

Today the President will lay out the case for meaningful juvenile and criminal justice reform that makes our system, fairer, smarter and more cost-effective while keeping the American people safe and secure.  Across the political spectrum, there is a growing consensus to make reforms to the juvenile and criminal justice systems to ensure that criminal laws are enforced more fairly and efficiently.  Unwarranted disparities and unduly harsh sentences undermine trust in the rule of law and offend the basic principles of fairness and justice.  In an era of limited resources and diverse threats, there is a public safety imperative to devote the resources of the criminal justice system to the practices that are most successful at deterring crime and protecting the public.

This Administration has taken a series of actions to enhance fairness and efficiency at all phases of the criminal justice system and to better address the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.  Now, it is time for Congress to act.  Meaningful sentencing reform, steps to reduce repeat offenders and reform of the juvenile justice system are crucial to improving public safety, reducing runaway incarceration costs and making our criminal justice system more fair.

* A Smarter and Fairer Approach to Charging and Sentencing

* Enhancing the Credibility and Accountability of the Justice System

* Focus on Effective Prisoner Reentry and the Cycle of Incarceration

* Support for State and Local Law Enforcement

* Working with State and Local Law Enforcement to Build Community Trust

* Working with State and Local Law Enforcement to Build Community Trust

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/fact-sheet-enhancing-fairness-and-effectiveness-criminal-justice-system

” I just want to highlight this story because here you’ve got a situation where officers of the court, judges, probation officers, U.S. attorneys, pastors, community leaders, business leaders are all coming together saying, what’s the problem we’re trying to solve here?  The problem we’re trying to solve is not just to keep on catching people and putting them back in jail.  The problem we’re trying to solve here is giving people a foundation through which they can then become productive citizens.  And the judge was mentioning how when she saw Dquan or some of the other folks who have gone through this program graduate, that’s the best thing that happens to her as a judge — because she understands that’s the goal.

The goal is to prevent crime.  The goal is to make sure that folks are fairly punished when they break the law.  But the ultimate goal is to make sure that folks are law-abiding, self-sufficient, good citizens.  And everything we do should be designed towards that goal.  (Applause.)  And if we’re doing a good job there, then crime will go down and it will stay down. “

11/2/15 President Obama on Criminal Justice Reform

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“Supporting successful reentry is an essential part of the Justice Department’s mission to promote public safety — because by helping individuals return to productive, law-abiding lives, we can reduce crime across the country and make our neighborhoods better places to live.

“An important part of that task is preparing those who have paid their debt to society for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, and addressing obstacles to successful reentry that too many returning citizens encounter.”

– Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch
National Reentry Week Announcement
April 2016

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October 27, 2015
President Obama attends the 122nd Annual International Association of Chiefs Conference
McCormick Place West, Chicago, Illinois

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#CriminalJusticeReform

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23 thoughts on “Criminal Justice Reform

  1. WH

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:10 AM
    President Obama meets with teachers and educators on reducing test taking time; Secretary of Education Duncan and Dr. King also attend
    Oval Office

    12:00 PM
    12:20 PM
    President Obama attends Senator Mitchell and Senator Dashell’s luncheon
    Metropolitan Club, Washington DC

    12:45 PM
    White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz briefs the press

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:35 PM
    President Obama welcomes Indonesian President Joko Widodo to the White House

    2:40 PM
    President Obama and Indonesian President Joko Widodo holds a bilateral meeting
    Oval Office

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:20 PM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of State Kerry
    Oval Office

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      October 26, 2015

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      9:00 AM ET
      Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Kickoff and Briefing
      The White House

      12:45 PM
      White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

      2:00 PM ET
      White House Champions of Change – Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture
      The White House

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:30 AM ET
      Council of the Great City Schools
      Report on Student Testing in the U.S.
      The Council of the Great City Schools released a new report on student testing in the U.S., followed by a panel discussion with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and others. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/328940-1

      11:06 AM ET
      George Washington University | School of Media and Public Affairs
      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Women and Politics
      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talked about women in politics, leadership, and the media’s influence on government. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/PelosionW

      12:00 PM ET
      Economic Policy Institute,American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
      U.S. Immigration Policy
      Panelists that included law professors from Santa Clara University, American University, and the University of California, Davis talked about immigration policy. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/328941-1

      12:45 PM ET
      White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press http://www.c-span.org/video/?328928-1/white-house-briefing

      2:00 PM ET
      State Department Daily Briefing
      John Kirby briefs reporters and responds to questions on a range of international issues. http://www.c-span.org/video/?328970-1/state-department-daily-briefing

      2:51 PM ET
      House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa
      Syrian Refugee Crisis
      Anne Richards and Leon Rodriguez testified at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on the Syrian refugee crisis.

      2:51 PM ET
      House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa
      Syrian Refugee Crisis
      Anne Richards and Leon Rodriguez testified at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on the Syrian refugee crisis.

  2. Criminal Justice Reform

    Excerpts from.7/14/15 President Obama’s remarks at the 2015 NAACP Conference

    “The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

    Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s.

    We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined.

    In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America — half a million people in 1980. In 2015 there are 2.2 million. It has quadrupled since 1980. Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone.

    Studies show that up to a certain point, tougher prosecutors and stiffer sentences for these violent offenders contributed to the decline in violent crime over the last few decades. Although the science also indicates that you get a point of diminishing returns. But it is important for us to recognize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically, in fact, the African American community oftentimes was under-policed rather than over-policed. Folks were very interested in containing the African American community so it couldn’t leave segregated areas, but within those areas there wasn’t enough police presence.

    Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. And that is the real reason our prison population is so high. In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime. If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society. You have to be held accountable and make amends. But you don’t owe 20 years. You don’t owe a life sentence. That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.

    [United States] taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price. Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion. Now, just to put that in perspective, for $80 billion, we could have universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America. That’s what $80 billion buys. For $80 billion, we could double the salary of every high school teacher in America. For $80 billion, we could finance new roads and new bridges and new airports, job training programs, research and development. We’re about to get in a big budget debate in Washington — what I couldn’t do with $80 billion. For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities.”

    For the entire transcript: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/remarks-president-naacp-conference

    • July 16, 2015

      Remarks by the President after Visit at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution

      El Reno, Oklahoma
      11:25 A.M. CDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. So I’m just going to make a very quick statement.

      I want to thank the folks who were involved here in helping to arrange this visit at El Reno Federal Penitentiary. And this is part of our effort to highlight both the challenges and opportunities that we face with respect to the criminal justice system.

      Many of you heard me speak on Tuesday in Philadelphia about the fact that the United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, we account for 25 percent of the world’s inmates. And that represents a huge surge since 1980. A primary driver of this mass incarceration phenomenon is our drug laws –our mandatory minimum sentencing around drug laws. And we have to consider whether this is the smartest way for us to both control crime and rehabilitate individuals.

      This is costing taxpayers across America $80 billion a year. And as I said on Tuesday, there are people who need to be in prison, and I don’t have tolerance for violent criminals. Many of them may have made mistakes, but we need to keep our communities safe. On the other hand, when we’re looking at nonviolent offenders, most of them growing up in environments in which the drug traffic is common, where many of their family members may have been involved in the drug trade, we have to reconsider whether 20-year, 30-year, life sentences for nonviolent crimes is the best way for us to solve these problems.

      Here at El Reno, there’s some excellent work that’s being done inside this facility to provide job training, college degrees, drug counseling. The question is not only how do we make sure that we sustain those programs here in the prison, but how do we make sure that those same kind of institutional supports are there for kids and teenagers before they get into the criminal justice system, and are there ways for us to divert young people who make mistakes early on in life so that they don’t get into the system in the first place.

      The good news is, is that we’ve got Democrats and Republicans who I think are starting to work together in Congress, and we’re starting to see bipartisan efforts in state legislatures as well to start to reexamine some of these sentencing laws, to look at what kinds of work we can do in the community to keep kids out of the criminal justice system in the first place, how we can build on the successes for rehabilitation of all individuals who are incarcerated, and then what can we do to improve reentry going forward.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/16/remarks-president-after-visit-el-reno-federal-correctional-institution

    • October 17, 2015

      WEEKLY ADDRESS: Working for Meaningful Criminal Justice Reform

      Remarks of President Barack Obama
      Weekly Address
      The White House
      October 17, 2015

      Hi, everybody. Thirty years ago, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America. Today, there are 2.2 million. The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep people locked up.

      Now, many of the folks in prison absolutely belong there – our streets are safer thanks to the brave police officers and dedicated prosecutors who put violent criminals behind bars. But over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more non-violent offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. That’s the real reason our prison population is so high.

      Ever since I was a Senator, I’ve talked about how, in too many cases, our criminal justice system is a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. And we’ve taken steps to address it. We invested in our schools to give at-risk young people a better shot to succeed. I signed a bill reducing the 100 to 1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. I’ve commuted the sentences of dozens of people sentenced under old drug laws we now recognize were unfair. The Department of Justice has gotten “Smart on Crime,” refocusing efforts on the worst offenders, and pursuing mandatory minimum sentences less frequently.

      Still, much of our criminal justice system remains unfair. In recent years, more of our eyes have been opened to this truth. We can’t close them anymore. And good people, of all political persuasions, are eager to do something about it.

      Over the next few weeks, I’ll travel the country to highlight some of the Americans who are doing their part to fix our criminal justice system. I’ll visit a community battling prescription drug and heroin abuse. I’ll speak with leaders from law enforcement who are determined to lower the crime rate and the incarceration rate, and with police chiefs who have dedicated their careers to keeping our streets and officers safe. I’ll meet with former prisoners who are earning their second chance.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/weekly-address

    • October 22, 2015

      Remarks by the President in Arm Chair Discussion on Criminal Justice with Law Enforcement Leaders

      South Court Auditorium

      2:36 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, Bill, thanks for moderating this. Thank you to the Marshall Project. I am particularly grateful to folks in law enforcement, some members of Congress who are here, people in prosecutors’ offices — all of whom have taken a great interest in this.

      And as I said backstage before we came out, I do think that we’re in a unique moment in which, on a bipartisan basis, across the political spectrum, people are asking hard questions about our criminal justice system and how can we make it both smart, effective, just, fair.

      You’re right, Bill, that reform encompasses a whole bunch of stuff, and not everybody is going to have the same views on every issue. But I do think there are certain principles that my administration — our esteemed Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her deputy and others — are pursuing. And there I do think that there’s some rough agreement.

      Number one, I think there’s a recognition that our criminal justice system should treat people fairly regardless of race, wealth, station; that there has to be a consistency in the application of the law. I think that’s an area where people agree.

      And so when I came into office, and we saw a huge variance in how crack cocaine was being treated versus powder cocaine, people immediately asked the question, why is that — particularly given that there might be differences in demographics in terms of who uses it, and that would be an example of an area where we had to reform it. And we still haven’t gotten it where it probably needs to be, but we made a change. So, one is fairness.

      Number two, proportionality. I think one of the things that has come up again and again in the discussions of reform is, in any criminal justice system we want to make sure that the punishment fits the crime. And if we know, for example, that someone engaged in a non-violent drug crime should be punished but that their sentence should not probably be longer than a rapist or a murderer, and yet that’s not what our sentencing guidelines reflect, then that’s a problem. So, proportionality is the second issue that I’m concerned about.

      Number three is a recognition that incarceration is just one tool in how we think about reducing crime and violence and making our communities safe. And if that’s the only tool — if we think we only have a hammer, then everything becomes a nail — then we’re missing opportunities for us to create safer communities through drug diversion and treatment, for example, or through more effective re-entry programs, or getting to high school kids or middle school or elementary school kids earlier so that they don’t get in trouble in the first place, and how are we resourcing that. So that’s a third area.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/22/remarks-president-arm-chair-discussion-criminal-justice-law-enforcement

    • U.S. police chiefs call for background checks for all gun purchases

      October 26, 2015 By Fiona Ortiz- Reuters

      CHICAGO (Reuters) – Police chiefs from across the United States called on Monday for universal background checks for firearms purchases, saying opinion polls consistently show that most Americans support such restrictions.

      The proliferation of firearms is one of the factors behind a rise in homicide rates in many U.S. cities this year, according to senior law enforcement officials at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago.

      Acknowledging the power of the gun lobby and the reluctance of Congress to enact stricter gun laws, the police chiefs told a news conference they were not anti-gun but wanted to keep weapons out of the hands of people with criminal backgrounds.

      Current rules on background checks apply to licensed dealers, but up to 40 percent of firearms sales involve private parties or gun shows and do not require checks, the chiefs said.

      “This is a no-brainer, this is the simplest thing in the world,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “It troubles me all the time.”

      Backing the effort is an alliance of organizations representing police chiefs and executives, such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association and groups representing women, Hispanic and African-American law enforcement executives and police chiefs, as well as campus law enforcement administrators.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/u-police-chiefs-call-background-checks-gun-purchases-224932527.html

    • October 27, 2015

      Remarks by the President at the 122nd Annual IACP Conference

      McCormick Place
      Chicago, Illinois

      2:18 P.M. CDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. Welcome to Chicago, my hometown. (Applause.) Chief Beary, thank you for that introduction because it was brief, which — (laughter) — and that’s what I like. At this point, one way or another, people know who I am.

      And let me also thank our outstanding mayor of the city of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, for hosting us. (Applause.) I know that thousands of you, from federal, state, county, local, and tribal agencies have been working hard to share strategies and solutions to better serve and protect all of us. And we are profoundly grateful for your work. I do hope that you’ve gotten a little time to enjoy my hometown, as well, because there is fun to be had here. Somebody clapped. (Laughter.)

      Now, even as we meet here today, though, another gathering of police is taking place in New York. Randolph Holder was born in Guyana to a family of police officers. His dad was a police officer. His grandfather was a police officer. And after his family came to America, Randolph followed in their footsteps and joined New York’s Finest. A week ago today, a shots-fired call came over the radio. And as Officer Holder chased down a suspect, he was shot and killed in the line of duty.

      Officer Holder didn’t run toward danger because he thought of himself as a hero, he ran toward danger because he was a cop. It was part of his job description, part of his calling. It’s why so many of you wear the badge. Every day, you risk your lives so that the rest of us don’t have to. You serve and protect to provide the security so many Americans take for granted. And, by the way, your families serve alongside you. And as you serve, America places very high expectations on you -– expectations that cops across America work every day to meet.

      So I want to start by saying on behalf of the American people — thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/27/remarks-president-122nd-annual-iacp-conference

  3. White House Champions of Change – Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture
    The White House

    Oct 26, 2015

  4. October 26, 2015

    Joint Statement by the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia

    At the invitation of President Barack Obama of the United States of America, His Excellency Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, visited the United States in October 2015. On this occasion, President Barack Obama and President Joko Widodo held a meeting at the White House on October 26, 2015, and adopted this Joint Statement.

    The two Presidents recognized that the ties between their two countries are stronger than ever, dynamic, and firmly based on shared principles of democracy and good governance, respect for human rights, and the promotion of peace, stability, and economic well-being. The U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, a framework launched in 2010, has further broadened, deepened and elevated the bilateral relationship. The Comprehensive Partnership has demonstrated the global significance of enhanced cooperation between the world’s second and third largest democracies, the tremendous possibilities for economic and development cooperation, and the importance of fostering exchanges and mutual understanding between two of the world’s most diverse nations.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/26/joint-statement-united-states-america-and-republic-indonesia

    ——–

    October 26, 2015 FACT SHEET: U.S.-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation

    October 26, 2015 FACT SHEET: U.S.-Indonesia Climate Cooperation

    • President Obama and Indonesian President Joko Widodo holds a bilateral meeting
      Oval Office

      October 26, 2015

  5. WH

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:05 AM
    President Obama welcomes the 2015 FIFA World Cup Champion United States National Women’s Soccer Team to the White House

    11:40 AM
    President Obama departs the White House enroute to Chicago

    11:55 AM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:40 PM
    President Obama arrives Chicago
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    President Obama attends the 122nd Annual International Association of Chiefs Conference
    McCormick Place West, Chicago, Illinois

    4:00 PM
    4:05 PM
    President Obama attends a DSCC event
    Chicago, Illinois

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:25 PM
    President Obama attends a DNC event
    Chicago, Illinois

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    President Obama overnights in Chicago, Illinois

    • October 27, 2015

      Remarks by the President Honoring the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team

      East Room

      11:27 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, welcome to the White House, everybody. And, Ayla, thank you for that introduction. You did a great job. I know your dad is incredibly proud of you. I don’t know where your brother is right now. (Laughter.) But this is some payback right here. (Laughter.) You just had a national audience — (applause) — you just had a national audience just letting him know what’s what. Because a lot of people agree with you, and nothing gives me more hope than knowing that we’ve got a whole generation of young women like Ayla ready to take the world by storm.

      Speaking of women who took the world by storm -– give it up for the World Champion, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team! (Applause.) Hey! I was really excited about this today. I go to a lot of meetings — (laughter) — and most of them aren’t that interesting. And so to see this team that sparked the imagination of people all across the country and around the world is just wonderful.

      I want to recognize a lot of people who made these incredibly talented women — put them in a position to be able to showcase their talent so effectively. First of all, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. Please give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) Your outstanding coach, Jill Ellis. (Applause.) Coach Ellis, I very much appreciate you allowing them to come to the White House during your victory tour. They’ve been playing a lot of “friendly” matches across the country –- although by the looks of the scores, they’re not that friendly. (Laughter.) These folks are kind of competitive.

      Now, my first order of business is to congratulate our newlywed, Sydney Leroux. Sydney. (Applause.) Yay! Is that the newlywed wave?

      MS. LEROUX: Presidential wave.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/27/remarks-president-honoring-us-national-womens-soccer-team

      • Play like a girl? It “means you’re a badass.”

        Published on Oct 29, 2015

        The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team joins President Obama at the White House, and welcomes a very special letter writer to share the stage.

  6. October 28, 2015

    Remarks by the President at DNC Event — Chicago, IL

    Public Hotel
    Chicago, Illinois
    o

    5:37 P.M. CDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, to Robbie and D’Rita, thank you so much for helping to pull this together. Two weeks isn’t a lot of time, so I apologize in advance for putting you on the spot like that. (Laughter.)

    Austin, you are official now. (Laughter.) I am conferring on you officialdom. (Laughter.) And, Ava, you are the big sister of Official. (Laughter.) So we are proud of you both. And we’re so grateful to the whole Robinson family.

    And I want to just thank everybody here. Look, it is always good coming home. It’s always good being home. (Applause.) And looking around the room — and I say this every time I come home, but it’s true because it’s true — (laughter) — my entire career has been impacted by people in this room. I’ve got folks who were friends of mine when I ran for my first state senate race in this room. I have people who went with me or were in classes in the Little Tot music thing with Malia when she had two buns — (laughter.) And I’ve got people here who have been friends to me and Michelle for years, and to help guide our presidential campaign. So whenever I see all of you, it just brings back great memories and it reminds me of the values that we’ve tried to carry into the White House and have tried to promote all these years.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/28/remarks-president-dnc-event-chicago-il

  7. Barack Obama: Why we must rethink solitary confinement

    By Barack Obama January 25 at 8:01 PM

    Barack Obama is president of the United States.

    In 2010, a 16-year-old named Kalief Browder from the Bronx was accused of stealing a backpack. He was sent to Rikers Island to await trial, where he reportedly endured unspeakable violence at the hands of inmates and guards — and spent nearly two years in solitary confinement.

    In 2013, Kalief was released, having never stood trial. He completed a successful semester at Bronx Community College. But life was a constant struggle to recover from the trauma of being locked up alone for 23 hours a day. One Saturday, he committed suicide at home. He was just 22 years old.

    Solitary confinement gained popularity in the United States in the early 1800s, and the rationale for its use has varied over time. Today, it’s increasingly overused on people such as Kalief, with heartbreaking results — which is why my administration is taking steps to address this problem.

    There are as many as 100,000 people held in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons — including juveniles and people with mental illnesses. As many as 25,000 inmates are serving months, even years of their sentences alone in a tiny cell, with almost no human contact.

    Research suggests that solitary confinement has the potential to lead to devastating, lasting psychological consequences. It has been linked to depression, alienation, withdrawal, a reduced ability to interact with others and the potential for violent behavior. Some studies indicate that it can worsen existing mental illnesses and even trigger new ones. Prisoners in solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially juveniles and people with mental illnesses.

    For more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/barack-obama-why-we-must-rethink-solitary-confinement/2016/01/25/29a361f2-c384-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html?postshare=9121453770400144&tid=ss_tw

    • January 25, 2016

      FACT SHEET: Department of Justice Review of Solitary Confinement

      In July 2015, the President announced that he had asked the Attorney General to review “the overuse of solitary confinement across American prisons.” Since that time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has undertaken a thorough review to determine how, when, and why correctional facilities isolate certain prisoners from the general inmate population, and has now developed concrete strategies for safely reducing the use of this practice, also known as “restrictive housing,” throughout our criminal justice system. That review led to a Report to the President setting out Guiding Principles that would responsibly limit the use of restrictive housing at the federal, state, and local level, as well as specific recommendations for policies that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) can implement for federal prisons. The Report identifies ways to further humane and safe conditions for both inmates and the correctional officers charged with protecting them.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/25/fact-sheet-department-justice-review-solitary-confinement

  8. *******************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

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