The sentencing overhaul championed by Gov. Bruce Rauner has already cut inmate numbers by 7,000. But reforms at the county level, influencing who goes to prison in the first place, have been a critical ingredient in the state’s success—and could be a model for jurisdictions elsewhere.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), chair of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, agrees with an unlikely ally, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), that federal sentencing reform should advance in Congress next year.
Marking the 50th anniversary of a wide-ranging report of a commission named by President Lyndon B. Johnson, some experts call for a 21st-century repeat, focusing on police, prosecutors, and mass incarceration. But some speakers at a Washington symposium worried the new administration’s “tough on crime” approach could limit its impact.
Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) tell a conference sponsored by the conservative Charles Koch Institute that they are campaigning hard to pass an overhaul of federal sentencing laws. The Charles Koch Foundation released a four-volume report on “Reforming Criminal Justice” that is aimed at being accessible to policymakers and to the public.
As Louisiana prepares to institute forward-looking sentencing reforms next month, the New Orleans newspaper criticizes Attorney General Jeff Sessions for looking backward toward the failed tough-on-crime strategies of the 1990s.
Bill favored by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the police department would provide higher sentences for repeat gun felons but it could save the state $62 million over 10 years because the measure also would ease penalties for some drug crimes.
Retired Federal Judge Schira Scheindlin has said mandatory-minimum requirements made her feel “dirty.” Other judges have joined the chorus of justice reformers who complain rigorous sentencing guidelines are unfair. But are they addressing the wrong problem?