Ultimately, the reform movement will have to touch on people's emotions, too. But instead of Otis's reliance on fear, disgust and anger, reformers will need to inspire feelings of empathy, forgiveness, and understanding. They'll need to create a culture where a person like Otis would never speak of a "thug" menacing your "daughter," because he knows that such demagoguery will earn him more opponents than friends.
Recently in Sentencing Category
The title of the article is "Meet the last man standing." The thesis is that Bill is the only voice opposing the movement to soften sentencing. It is good to see Bill's prominence as an advocate recognized, particularly by a partisan outlet for the other side. The assertion that he is the only one is, of course, preposterous. The exaggeration is even greater than the earlier National Journal article about me and the death penalty.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey is a stronger advocate in this fight than the article lets on. As noted in this post, the Association of Assistant United States Attorneys has done significant work in this area. CJLF is also an important voice, although we have focused more on California than on the present federal controversy.
Despite the article's deficiencies, Bill's forcefulness and effectiveness as an advocate makes him a force to be reckoned with, and the recognition of that fact is well deserved.
Heroin deaths are spiking in the U.S., concerning lawmakers who proclaim it an epidemic and public health issue.
Between 2012-13, the number of U.S. drug overdose deaths resulting from heroin spiked from 5,900 to 8,200, said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy Center.
"I've been with [the] DEA almost 30 years, and I have to tell you, I've never seen it this bad," Jack Riley, acting deputy administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said at a House judiciary subcommittee hearingTuesday.
Only in a parallel universe could our lawmakers be considering lighter sentencing for heroin at a time that its lethal impact has never been more appalling.
If there is to be a vote in Congress on lowering drug sentences, it should be taken one drug at a time. There may be many who would vote to lower sentences for pot. But if there are those who also want to lower sentences for heroin (or meth or Ecstasy or numerous other hard drugs), it would improve visibility and accountability if legislators would stand up, one at a time, and say so, drug-by-drug.
There was a day when liberals and libertarians agreed that visibility and accountability were valuable qualities in government. We may see soon if that is still their view.
The Obama administration objects to key provisions in a bipartisan criminal justice bill in the House that has picked up support from both the tough-on-crime end of the Republican Party and advocates of overhauling federal prison sentencing guidelines, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The bill's sponsors say the Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective Justice Reinvestment Act of 2015 -- or SAFE Act -- takes the best ideas from state criminal justice efforts in recent years and applies them to the federal system, but Obama administration officials have told supporters of the bill they don't like several of its provisions, including a key one that would essentially create a federal version of the drug court programs an increasing number of states use to divert low-level, first-time drug offenders away from prison and into probation.
In reality, there is no free lunch. In the alternate reality known as the American political debate, however, that's the only kind on the menu.
Conservatives say tax cuts boost economic growth, which yields higher revenue. No need to worry about bigger budget deficits.Meanwhile, over on the left, we have laws and policies in more than 200 jurisdictions, including some of the largest cities and counties in the country, that are meant to protect immigrant communities by preventing local authorities from cooperating with federal deportations of undocumented immigrants who have run-ins with the law.
Advocates claim that "sanctuary," as they call it, achieves a moral goal -- peace of mind for people who, whatever their immigration status, are often longtime residents, leading productive lives -- at little or no practical risk or cost to anyone.* * *
Why the fate of criminals should matter more than the fate of crime victims is a question that went largely unasked, let alone answered, during last week's bipartisan celebration of President Obama's decision to release dozens of individuals from prison and push for looser sentencing guidelines.* * *Higher black incarceration rates reflect higher black crime rates, but like many liberal critics of "mass incarceration" the president would rather focus on the behavior of police and prosecutors, not the behavior of the young black men responsible for so much lawbreaking. Not surprisingly, the poor and working-class blacks who are the primary victims of black criminality tend to have different priorities.* * *Occasionally, an honest liberal, like the one who taught Mr. Obama at Harvard Law School, will state the obvious. "The most lethal danger facing African Americans in their daily lives," wrote Prof. Randall Kennedy in these pages 21 years ago, "is not white, racist officials of the state, but private, violent criminals, typically black, who attack those most vulnerable to them without regard for racial identity."
With much of Obama's amnesty for illegal aliens on hold as a result of [a federal district] court's injunction, the legislator-in-chief is looking for every remaining opportunity to fundamentally transform America from the Oval Office... His next conquest is the dismantling of law and order and criminal justice laws that have helped lead to a miraculous decline in violent crime over the past two decades.
Good point. How is it that the President found time to pay an amicable and understanding call on convicted traffickers in hard drugs, but couldn't so much as have an Assistant Secretary drop a line to murder victims' families? Or, for that matter, to the families of the two policemen assassinated in New York?On Monday, Obama announced his plan to commute the sentences of 46 drug offenders serving time in federal prison, bringing the total number of commutations to 86 since he has taken office. He even had time to write them a personal letter as he ignored the family of Kate Steinle and other victims of violent crime, such as Kevin Southerland who was gruesomely stabbed to death on the subway right in the nation's capital. While libertarians and some conservatives are supportive of targeted changes to drug laws, everyone should be gravely concerned about where this is coming from and where it's headed.
The 46 sentence reductions [Obama granted today] are the most presidential commutations in a single day since at least the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, according to the White House. Overall, Obama has commuted sentences of 89 people, surpassing the combined number of commutations granted by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
They represent a sliver of all those seeking clemency: Justice Department statistics show that roughly 2,100 commutation petitions have been received so far this fiscal year, and about 7,900 are pending.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston predicted the president would issue even more commutations before leaving office, but added that "clemency alone will not fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies."
The president this week is devoting considerable attention to criminal justice. In addition to his speech Tuesday [to the NAACP Convention] in Philadelphia, he is to become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison when he goes to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside of Oklahoma City on Thursday. He'll meet with both law enforcement officials and inmates.
Some might think that "overly punitive sentencing policies" had something to do with the dramatic drop in crime in the last quarter century, but that goes unmentioned in the story and unseen in the President's outlook.