Will Trump ‘Chill’ Sentencing Reform?

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In a critique of criminal justice policies and statements from the Trump administration during its first 100 days in office, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University predicts that the President and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, will issue “continued warnings about a nonexistent crime wave.” The center complains that Trump and Sessions “have spoken about the imminent danger posed by rising crime in nearly every major speech” on the subject.

The center believes that “this steady drumbeat of fear could chill bipartisan attempts to reduce unnecessary incarceration at the federal, state, and local levels.” The center says several Trump’s executive orders on crime are vague and do not implement any immediate change, “but these orders entrust the attorney general with charting a new course of criminal justice.” The Brennan Center foresees “recommendations for more punitive immigration, drug, and policing actions.” It notes that a crime task force established by Sessions is scheduled to deliver its first report by July 27. The center believes the group may calls for “a rescission of Obama-era memos on prosecutorial discretion, which helped decrease the federal prison population, and diverted low-level drug offenders away from incarceration.”

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