The GOP Congress continues to deliver on the top priorities of voters:
“WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators has reached a tentative deal on the most substantial rewrite of the nation’s sentencing and prison laws in a generation, giving judges more latitude to sidestep mandatory minimum sentences and easing drug sentences that have incarcerated African-Americans at much higher rates than white offenders.
The lawmakers believe they can get the measure to President Trump during the final weeks of the year, if the president embraces it.
The compromise would eliminate the so-called stacking regulation that makes it a federal crime to possess a firearm while committing another crime, like a drug offense; expand the “drug safety valve” allowing judges to sidestep mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders; and shorten mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, according to draft text of the bill obtained by The New York Times. …
“We have the clearest path forward that we have had in years,” said Holly Harris, the executive director of the Justice Action Network, a bipartisan coalition arguing for an overhaul. “This would be the first time that these members have voted on a piece of legislation that turns away from the lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-keys policies of the 1990s. That is groundbreaking.”
When you voted to elect Donald Trump as president in 2016, I am sure you were thinking of prison reform when you voted to “Make America Safe Again.” After watching all those Black Lives Matter riots, you thought to yourself we need to be letting hardened criminals out of prison.
A few years ago, Politico worried that Trump would spell the end of criminal justice reform:
“Criminal justice reform, a perennial lost cause for civil rights lefties, had its surprise bipartisan moment this year. Conservative Republican voices like anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers led campaigns against mass incarceration and mandatory drug sentences. GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush has embraced the pro-reform Right on Crime initiative, while Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have co-sponsored reform bills with liberal Democratic senators.
But the Kumbaya reform moment may not survive the Summer of Trump.
After roiling the politics of immigration with jeremiads about border walls and Mexican rapists, Donald Trump has scrambled the politics of crime by running as a pro-cop, anti-thug “law-and-order” candidate, denouncing rioters in Baltimore and Ferguson, vowing to “get rid of gang members so fast your head will spin.” And as with immigration, his rivals are echoing his appeals to the angry id of their party’s white base, distancing themselves from bipartisan reform. Bush is now touting his own “eight-year record of cracking down on violent criminals” as governor of Florida, while attacking Trump as “soft on crime” because of his past support for Democrats and marijuana decriminalization. Candidates like Cruz and the usually Koch-friendly Scott Walker are also trumpeting their toughness on criminal justice issues, blaming President Barack Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement for recent attacks on police officers. In this climate, it’s even harder than usual to imagine GOP congressional leaders bucking their base to push reform. …”
Who wants prison reform?
Jared Kushner. The Koch Brothers. Grover Norquist. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Republicans who believe this will be the magic bullet that finally wins over based black dudes.
Note: Prison reform will soon join the list of Republican policy victories like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, ending the Iran deal, sanctions on Russia, NATO expansion, NAFTA 2.0, the tax cuts, banking deregulation, arming Ukraine and spending $717 billion to “rebuild the military.”