Might Romney Do Better than Obama on Criminal-Justice Reform?


Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman suggests that Mitt Romney, this year’s likely presidential candidate, take a “bold new GOP approach” to criminal justice issues “in an effort to reach out to independent and minority voters (especially young ones).” Writing in his Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Berman cites the “Right on Crime” campaign and its “strong suggestion that incarceration should play a smaller role in modern criminal justice systems and that the drug war ought to be scaled back significantly.”

He notes that “GOP stalwarts ranging from Jeb Bush to Newt Gingrich to Grover Norquist to Edwin Meese to John DiIulio to Ralph Reed to Larry Thompson have all signed off on these principles and likely would be supportive of their embrace by candidate Romney.” Berman says that many supporters of President Obama have been “persistently disappointed” by his administration’s criminal justice record, “ranging from federal marijuana policy to criminal discovery reform to mandatory minimum sentencing statutes to clemency practices,” adding that “the last few years have represented a missed opportunity for needed federal reforms with a deeply disappointing failure in leadership and vision.”

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