Gov. Phil Murphy announces major clemency plan in New Jersey

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the launch of a major clemency plan that would wipe out the criminal convictions of thousands of people. 

This will affect thousands of inmates convicted of crimes that are no longer considered illegal.

State officials say that the initiative will be category-based depending upon the offense.

Murphy made the announcement from St. James AME Church in Newark on Juneteenth

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He was joined by rapper Meek Mill who was convicted for a probation violation that was overturned by the Pennsylvania supreme court in 2018. 

A clemency board of judicial and prison reform experts has also been formed to identify those asking to be pardoned or to have their sentences commuted. 

Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey, speaks during the 2023 State of the State Address at the New Jersey State House in Trenton, New Jersey, US, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Murphy proposed expanding the number of liquor licenses in the state and provi

"But the bottom line is yes, we and I are looking for individuals who have been rehabilitated or who could be giving back to their communities, but instead are being unjustly held back by our criminal system," Murphy said. "To these individuals, to everyone in New Jersey, I promise you this. I am going to use my clemency powers as governor to remedy these injustices."

During Murphy's time in office, he has not issued a single pardon or act of clemency. This is a first.

During the pandemic, he did authorize the release of scores of inmates to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the jail system.