Krisberg Sees ‘Nightmarish’ Federal Role on Criminal Justice

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“We’re moving into a nightmarish period in terms of the federal role in criminal justice” under President Donald Trump, juvenile justice advocate Barry Krisberg of the University of California at Berkeley tells the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Among other things, Krisberg says, “I would suspect that privatization will rear its ugly head again. We’re going to see a big emphasis to privatize federal detention centers, prisons, you name it, although under the [Obama] administration that looked like it was being phased out.”

He adds that, “Given the apparent lack of interest of the Trump administration in science, evidence-based strategies will get less traction,” and, “I don’t see any interest whatsoever in pursuing of racial disparities either in law enforcement or in the corrections system.”  His conclusion: “The driving dynamic … is the public’s distrust and suspicion of government in many aspects — which to some extent fueled Trump’s campaign — is also a political force which argues against expansion of the criminal justice system, expansion of criminal laws or growing investments in more prisons and jails. Overwhelmingly, the public thinks that the criminal justice system is bloated and corrupt.” Krisberg believes “states that were already pursuing a smart-on-crime approach are going to continue in that direction: and that in terms of federal spending on criminal justice, “I think we’re going to see a return to the Reagan years: Give money to states and not really care how they’re going to spend it.”

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