January 12, 2022
Pressley Applauds Commutations for Thomas Koonce and William Allen
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on Governor Baker’s approval of the commutation requests for Thomas E. Koonce and William Allen:
“The power of clemency and redemption are immeasurable. I congratulate Mr. Koonce and Mr. Allen on having their commutation requests approved by the Governor, and I urge the Governor’s Council to follow suit without delay. Like so many others, these men deserve to be reunited with their families and communities, and I am encouraged that the Governor has heeded our calls to grant them clemency, which will help set them and everyone impacted on a pathway to healing, and give hope to the hundreds of incarcerated individuals in Massachusetts with clemency applications pending. And while the Governor’s action today is historic, he can and must continue to use his clemency authority to reunite families, protect the public health, and begin to address the hurt and harm inflicted by our legal system on our most vulnerable.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, and I won’t stop fighting in Congress to pass my FIX Clemency Act, which would transform our broken federal clemency system and help address the crisis of mass incarceration. With the backlog of federal clemency applications growing and tens of thousands of lives hanging in the balance, we must move with urgency.”
The FIX Clemency Act, which Rep. Pressley unveiled at a press conference last month with co-leads Reps. Cori Bush (MO-01) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), would help address the backlog of over 18,000 pending clemency applications by creating an independent U.S. Clemency Board responsible for reviewing clemency applications and transmitting its recommendations directly to the President. The bill was also endorsed by the Boston Globe in an editorial published in December.
Rep. Pressley has previously written to Governor Baker urging him to use his clemency authority to decarcerate vulnerable individuals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.