Congress Is Poised for a Major Step on Sentencing Reform

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Sokolov, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Desert Owl Games

    Well, after 8 years of gridlock, something is being done that isn't designed to just benefit the rich!

    "A bipartisan group of senators is moving closer to the most substantial rewrite of criminal justice legislation in a generation. The senators reached a compromise on Monday that clears the way for Congress to pass a bill including both prison reform and sentencing reductions."

    Source: https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/congress-poised-major-step-sentencing-reform

    Somewhat surprising to see Trump supporting this, given that he appointed Sessions who then reversed all the things Obama's DOJ did to minimize the effects.

    "Of all the moves Sessions made in 2017, none brought as much consternation from all sides of the political spectrum—from the Koch brothers and Rand Paul to the ACLU and Cory Booker—as this: He revoked the Obama-era instruction to federal prosecutors to be more flexible in charging low-level, nonviolent offenders. Under this policy, federal prosecutions had declined for five consecutive years and, in 2016, were at their lowest level in nearly two decades, according to the Pew Research Center.

    Sessions ordered prosecutors to seek the maximum punishment available, prompting widespread fear of a return to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the federal prisons filled with drug offenders. In what it is calling a budget cut, the Bureau of Prisons has also ordered the closure of several halfway houses, which can extend the length of time soon-to-be released prisoners are spending behind bars."

    But then, Trump also claimed to support immigration reform but ultimately rejected every bipartisan plan presented to him by Congress - so I'll believe it when I see it.

    Source: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/...ady-demolished-obamas-criminal-justice-legacy

    There's been numerous attempts to address this issue in the last 8 years, including 3 different bills that I am aware of, but with no real progress in Congress on the issue, Obama resorted to simply commuting sentences and giving federal prosectors more leeway to be lenient.

    "President Obama on Wednesday cut short the sentences of 214 federal inmates, including 67 life sentences, in what the White House called the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century.

    Almost all the prisoners were serving time for non-violent drug crimes, reflecting Obama’s long-stated view that the US needs to remedy the consequences of decades of sentencing requirements that put tens of thousands of Americans behind bars for far too long."

    ...

    "Obama has pushed for a broader fix to criminal justice laws and has used the aggressive pace of his commutations in an effort to pressure Congress and call more attention to the issue.

    All told, Obama has commuted 562 sentences during his presidency – more than the past nine presidents combined, the White House said. Almost 200 of those who have benefited were serving life sentences."

    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/03/obama-cuts-short-prison-sentences-commutations
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018

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