Following building momentum on Capitol Hill and backing from advocates left and right, a nod from President Donald Trump has lifted the expectation that prison reform legislation could pass this year.
‘American Carnage’ President Presides over Prison Reform Push
Criminal justice reform has picked up increased support and attention over the past decade, with members of both parties signaling their belief in doing something about the state of mass incarceration in the US. But Trump’s election, predicated in part on hardline law enforcement and false claims about the level of violent crime, seemed to spell a pause, if not an end, for those efforts.
While the discussion around sentencing and comprehensive criminal justice reform retains sharp disagreement between and within the parties, there appears to be a consensus on this topic.
Supporters of the push are expressing something between confidence and cautious optimism that a deal to improve conditions in federal prisons, bolster anti-recidivism efforts and allow federal prisoners to earn “time credits” for making it through education or other programs is doable as major clashes over immigration and the Justice Department seize the relevant committees’ attention and the midterm elections grow closer.
Georgia’s Republican Rep. Doug Collins, an author of a bipartisan prison reform bill, called the moment of apparent consensus “a unique opportunity.”