William Underwood has a groundswell of support for immediate release from members of the community, professionals in the music and entertainment industries, scholars, civil rights and bipartisan leaders, and formerly incarcerated mentees.
Conservative leaders have called for William Underwood’s release. Pat Nolan, Director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform, stressed that “Prison is for people we are afraid of, not those we are merely mad at. We are mad at William Underwood because he sold drugs. We are mad at him because he did not cooperate with the authorities. But at age 61, we are not afraid of him.” Craig DeRoche, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy for Prison Fellowship and Executive Director of Justice Fellowship stated, “Mr. Underwood has earned back the public’s trust by maintaining a clean disciplinary record and mentoring younger prisoners and setting them on the right path … As a transformed person, his incarceration no longer serves the interests of justice and a second chance through commutation of sentence to time-served is the right and merciful solution.” Mark Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Koch Industries, Inc., who personally met and was impressed with Mr. Underwood’s daughter, Ebony, sent the Underwood Family a general statement regarding clemency for inclusion in the clemency package.
Civil rights leaders, scholars and advocates such as Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau; Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century; Dr. Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University; Michael Skolnik, political director to Russell Simmons and Glenn Martin, President of JustLeadership USA have likewise called for his return to family. Jason Hernandez, whose life without parole sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2013 and is now successfully and gainfully employed, stated, “Some of the greatest, charismatic, compassionate, and greatest minds this country has produced are imprisoned … Some of those individuals are, but not limited to, William Underwood.”