“45” has been VERY busy during his tenure in the White House. He has been whipping out executive orders and passing bills with a wave of the hand as if he is a political Merlin the Magician. Most of his decisions thus far have drawn the ire of minority communities, but he appears to be helping the team on his latest push.
On Wednesday, Trump announced his support for prison and sentencing reform legislation championed by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner (whose own father spent time in prison, prompting him to become a prison reform advocate.) The bill is named the FIRST STEP Act , and the president said the bill would “roll back” certain provisions of “the Clinton crime law that disproportionately harmed the African-American community.” President Trump is urging senators to push this bill through, with an emphasis on pushing it through the lame duck session of Congress.
According to Trump, this bipartisan bill will make communities safer, and give former inmates a second chance at life after they served their time. Some of the highlights of the bill include measures to retroactively apply updated sentencing guidelines between crack and powder cocaine, eliminate regulation that makes it a federal crime to possess a firearm while committing another crime, give judges greater latitude to sidestep mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses, and shorten mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
A previous impediment to real criminal justice reform was former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose tough on crime stance wasn’t always practical. Now with his recent firing, it allows the administration to attempt to make lasting, true reform. It is no secret that the Omnibus Crime Bill signed into law by Bill Clinton decimated minority communities, and we are still feeling its effects. There are legions of men languishing behind bars away from their families due to these laws. Say what you will about President Trump (and we say a lot), but if this bill gets passed, it will bring great relief to our communities.
***Read more about the Crime Bill signed into law by President Clinton here. ***