Beaumont, TX Prisoner Rejects Clemency From President Obama


As of October 7, 2016 President Barack Obama has granted 590 commutations, reducing the sentences of prisoners. Arnold Ray Jones is the first to reject his clemency.

Jones who has been in prison in Beaumont , Texas for dealing drugs since 2002 was originally set to be released in April 2019, but was granted clemency under the Obama’s program for drug offenders with long prison sentences. Initially Jones asked for clemency from the president. Upon his early release being granted, Jones declined because of the stipulations attached with it.

Though we have saw no official statement from him, we have read where some say it is the clause that says Jones must enroll in a residential drug treatment program that led him to decline.

We searched for reasons why this would be so bad, but to be honest, we found that most say the residential drug treatment programs former inmates attend are actually effective, though intense. These programs are said to do the following:

  • reduce relapse

  • reduce criminality

  • reduce recidivism

  • reduce inmate misconduct

  • increase the level of the offender’s stake in societal norms

  • increase levels of education and employment upon return to the community

  • improve health and mental health symptoms and conditions

  • improve relationships

Some say they admire Jones’s courage to admit he’s not ready reenter society. We considered that possibility but why? Is it because Jones realizes he’d be walking into even more materialistic and overly sexualized world than he left, now filled with even more limitations but just as many temptations. It’s no secret re-entry for prisoners, especially Black men, is difficult with many of their citizen rights like voting being revoked and many employers don’t hire convicted felons.

We would like to hear Jones take on the matter. With clemency, he could have been released next year. 



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