Executive Director Holly Harris’ Essay on Criminal Justice Reform Featured Among Top Issues for New Administration
Washington, D.C. – Today, Foreign Affairs magazine debuted an essay by U.S. Justice Action Network Executive Director Holly Harris in their March/April edition. The essay explores the political landscape and opportunity for the “law and order” President to tackle justice reform at the federal level. It also outlines the bipartisan efforts that brought sentencing and corrections reform legislation further than ever before in the U.S. Congress, and details tremendous reform victories in states as diverse as Georgia and Connecticut.
Titled “Trump Time,” the new magazine features a range of challenging issues that a new administration will confront in the days and months ahead. Holly’s piece is available on the Foreign Affairs website for a limited time. Here are some of the highlights:
“Democrats and Republicans have reached across the aisle, compelled by a shared recognition that flawed legal codes and sentencing laws (among other features of the criminal justice system) have destroyed lives, drained billions of taxpayer dollars, and failed to provide Americans with the public safety they deserve[.]”
“Between 2008 and 2013, dozens of states reduced both their incarceration rates and their crime rates, proving that smart reforms can make communities safer and also save taxpayers’ money… Such bold leadership has yet to be matched at the federal level[.]”
“Now that the 2016 election is over, Democrats and Republicans in Congress should once again take up the cause of commonsense sentencing and recidivism-reduction reforms. If Trump wants to make the country safer, the best way to do so would be to study successful reforms in states from Connecticut to Georgia and advocate transformational changes to the broken federal system.”
“Law enforcement support for the legislation has come from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Council of Prison Locals, which represents more than 28,000 federal prison guards.”
“[T]he Trump administration can hold government accountable by backing federal incentives for states that safely decrease their prison populations and reconsider ineffective sentencing regimes. Such an initiative would represent a stark reversal of legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, which did just the opposite, offering federal dollars to states that imposed harsher criminal penalties and built more prisons, which contributed to the explosion of incarceration rates during the past two decades.”
“One of the president’s greatest challenges will be to unify an American public suffering from the deep social divisions that have surfaced or widened in recent years. In addition to improving an often flawed and unjust system, criminal justice reform would create a badly needed point of unity and help build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.”
For more information, visit www.justiceactionnetwork.org.