By: Todd Cox
Source: The Hill
In 2015, Senator Chuck Grassley introduced a long-awaited bi-partisan criminal justice reform bill designed to address inequities in federal sentencing and promote rehabilitation and re-entry for persons who are incarcerated.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) was a compromise that fell far short of the comprehensive criminal justice reforms that are needed to truly transform the nation’s criminal justice system; and yet, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and many of our civil rights coalition partners, generally supported this compromise. Limited sentencing reforms were easier to accept in 2015, under a Department of Justice itself dedicated to policing reform and to reforming its own charging policies with the goal of reducing the impact of overly harsh sentences.
However, the Department of Justice is now led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Session’s DOJ has not only abandoned policing reform but is ramping up the now discredited “war on drugs,” re-opening the floodgates to our nation’s federal prisons. Under these circumstances, it would be a critical mistake to pursue strategies that do not include reforming the front-end of the system or sentencing.
Read the full piece here.