Wednesday, October 21, 2015

CNN on Prison Reform

CNN has provided a kind of introductory / update piece to the topic of prison reform in the United States using the upcoming release of thousands of inmates from federal prisons as a springboard. They (the inmates) have served an average of 9 years and most would be released within the next 18 months anyway. Many are already in so-called "half-way" houses and about 1/3/ will be deported. But why?

People like Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey and Derek Cohen of the conservative think tank Right on Crime are lining up, for a variety of reasons - some economic, others related to basic notions of justice. The U.S. Senate is also "considering big changes." It is considering legislation that will 1) remove the "three strikes" law calling for mandatory life sentences 2) allow crack offenders to challenge their sentences by retroactively - via 2010 legislation 3) reduce solitary confinement in juvenile facilities 4) empower judges to use more discretion

Says CNN:
While praising Obama for visiting a federal prison, political science professor and author P. S. Ruckman Jr. said the President should and can do more. "He can grant more pardons and commutations of sentence," Ruckman wrote in a CNN commentary. "Obama has granted exactly one more commutation than the previous four presidents combined, even though he has received over 1,000 more applications for commutations of sentence than the previous four combined. Amazingly, Obama's record on pardons is even worse." 
See full story here.

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