Trump Backs Sentencing Reform?
Article from Reason by Jacob Sullum.
Kanye West’s literal embrace of Donald Trump was all over the news last week. The president’s rhetorical embrace of criminal justice reform got considerably less attention but may prove more consequential.
In an interview with Fox News on the morning of his meeting with the rap impresario, Trump signaled that he was ready to go beyond “back end” reform, which focuses on rehabilitation of inmates, and support “front end” reform, which focuses on reducing sentences and sending fewer people to prison. The key to understanding Trump’s remarks is Alice Marie Johnson, whose sentence the president commuted in June at the behest of West’s wife, Kim Kardashian.
Johnson, a first-time offender who received a life sentence in 1996 for participating in a Memphis cocaine trafficking organization, has described herself as “a telephone mule, passing messages between the distributors and sellers.” While serving nearly 22 years in federal prison, she became a grandmother and great-grandmother, an ordained minister, and a mentor to other inmates.
That influence could be crucial in the ongoing debate about federal sentencing reform. Last May the House overwhelmingly approved the FIRST STEP Act, a collection of modest prison reforms aimed at reducing recidivism and promoting reintegration. The bill is on hold in the Senate, where Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is demanding that it include sentencing reforms as well.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons