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Remember when President Obama pulled an Oprah with the prison population? You’re granted clemency!! And YOU get a pardon!! 

In December, Obama wrapped up his presidency in the same manner he spent his time in the Oval Office: ignoring the need for criminal justice reform and continuing to support criminals who have brazenly chosen to ignore the law. All told, Obama commuted the sentences of 1,176 individuals, including 395 life sentences, and granted pardons to 148 individuals.

The ‘free passes’ our previous president granted to inmates “exemplified his belief that America is a nation of second chances”. But one Texas woman showed exactly how much Obama’s Get Out of Jail card meant to her. Bupkiss. 

49-year-old Carol Denise Richardson was arrested on April 13, 2017, for theft in Pasadena, TX, after she stole $60 of laundry detergent she intended to sell to for drug money.

Richardson was convicted by a federal jury in June 2006 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine and two counts of possession with intent to distribute the drug, the Houston Chronicle reported. With an extensive criminal background, she was sentenced to life in prison.

After her release in July last year, Richardson was ordered to remain under supervision for 10 years.

Authorities said Richardson also violated five separate terms of her release including failing to report that she had been arrested.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison on Thursday, Richardson was told that she had wasted a rare opportunity at freedom. Ellison ordered her back to federal prison for 14 months, with five years of supervised release beyond that.

In a statement released by his office, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Imperato said: “This defendant was literally given a second chance to become a productive member of society and has wasted it. She has clearly shown a willful disregard for the law and must face the consequences for her crimes and actions.”

The government needs to be sensitive to the reality of criminals’ need for rehabilitation while remaining committed to serving justice to victims’ and their families. I’ve long praised Governor Rick Perry for cracking the code on criminal justice reform in Texas by doing just that.

Beginning in 2005, Texas, under the leadership of then Republican Gov. Rick Perry, undertook a number of reforms that are credited with a 12-percent reduction in its incarceration rate since 2009 and its lowest crime rate since 1968.

Texas, taking a more holistic approach to criminal justice, created specialized drug courts, which allow defendants to get treatment as an alternative to prison. It revamped its probation and parole system to swiftly punish violations without automatically sending the offender to prison—to get a violator’s attention without locking him up.

And in 2007, faced with the prospect of spending $2 billion to build and run new prisons to meet demand, a bipartisan group of state legislators instead invested $241 million to expand in-prison and community-based treatment and diversion programs.

“Since that time, we’ve reduced the crime rate to the lowest level since the 1960s, we have fewer prisons, and we’re safer. That’s what Republicans are about. We’re about public safety,” said Jerry Madden, a former Republican member of the Texas legislature who helped design the reforms.

Which one is working?