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Response to Wolverine16 (Reply #66)

Tue Jan 19, 2021, 02:16 PM

86. Reality check - "Biden vs. Trump: Who's the Actual Criminal Justice Reformer?"

Welcome to DU! I don't mean to pick on a newcomer, but I feel it's important to point out that The First Step Act -- and the Trump Administration's criminal justice policies -- are at best an extremely mixed bag.

Biden vs. Trump: Who’s the Actual Criminal Justice Reformer? - Politico, 4/23/2020

Despite a bipartisan push to reduce the United States’ highest-in-the-world incarceration rate, the prison population decreased only slightly in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. It was the last year in a slow but steady decade-long decline to the current population of 1.5 million.
- much more at link:
https://www.politico.com/interactives/2020/justice-reform-biden-trump-candidate-policy-positions/

Trump Just Bragged About Criminal Justice Reform. Look Closer at How His Administration Is Undoing It. - Mother Jones, 2/4/2020

During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump praised himself for his work on criminal justice reform. “Our roaring economy has for the first time ever given many former prisoners the ability to get a great job and a fresh start,” he said. “This second chance at life is made possible because we passed landmark criminal justice reform into law. Everybody said that criminal justice reform couldn’t be done, but I got it done and the people in this room got it done.”

Yes, it’s true that Trump—the same man who recommended heavier enforcement of stop and frisk policing, and whose administration brought back the federal death penalty and fueled the expansion of private prisons—signed a much-heralded bill in 2018 to reform the federal criminal justice system, with broad bipartisan support. The First Step Act made changes that have reduced the federal prison population, and it was the first criminal justice reform bill to pass Congress in a generation. So far, the law has shortened the prison stays of about 2,500 people who were serving disproportionately long sentences for crack cocaine offenses, most of them African American. It has also let more than 3,000 people go home early because of their good behavior during incarceration. And it could lead to improvements in prison conditions.

But as Trump claims credit for freeing people from prison, there’s one very big problem that he’s not mentioning: His Justice Department is actively pushing to send some of these same people back behind bars, and to prevent others from reducing their sentences—which greatly limits who can benefit from the law that Trump has touted as one of his signature achievements.
- more at link: https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/02/trump-just-bragged-about-criminal-justice-reform-look-closer-at-how-his-administration-is-undoing-it/

Oh, yes, this too: Trump administration has executed more Americans than all states combined, report finds - The Guardian, 12/16/2020

The Trump administration ultimately executed 13 prisoners, most recently Dustin Higgs.

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