Articles on Criminal Justice Reform

 

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New York Times: John Pfaff: "A Mockery of Justice for the poor"

"Funding public defense would ensure that poor people’s constitutional rights are protected, would advance a commitment to justice shared by liberals and conservatives alike, and would help roll back our staggering prison population.

 
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New york times: john pfaff: "Bill clinton is wrong about is crime bill. so are the protesters he lectured."

"By and large, mass incarceration has been driven by state and local officials, and by county prosecutors in particular. As the 1994 act makes clear, federal efforts to influence those officials can be ineffective. It’s likely that federal efforts to reduce state prison populations would be similarly disappointing. Federal carrots and sticks have little impact on state and local officials, if only because the sizes of the carrots and sticks are fairly small compared to the vast amounts already being spent. And even if state legislators are tempted by federal funds, the local prosecutors who actually enforce the laws can always circumvent the changes — which is likely one reason why New York’s prison population dropped even as the state received over $100 million in TIS grants.

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washington post: john pfaff: "For true penal reform, focus on the violent offenders."

"[A]t some point we are going to have to reduce the punishments that violent offenders face if we really want to cut our breathtaking prison population down to size. But this idea is a political third rail, and no leading politician has been willing to risk touching it. Almost all the reform proposals we have seen focus exclusively on scaling back punishments for drug and other nonviolent crimes."

 

Los Angeles Times: John Pfaff: "The Never-Ending `Willie Horton' Effect is Keeping Prison's Too Full for America's Good."

"[I]it simply takes time to turn around our sprawling criminal justice system. Another is that there are politically powerful groups, such as district attorney associations and correctional officer unions, that aggressively oppose reforms and land victories such as Sessions’ emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing.

it simply takes time to turn around our sprawling criminal justice system. Another is that there are politically powerful groups, such as district attorney associations and correctional officer unions, that aggressively oppose reforms and land victories such as Sessions’ emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing."

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wall street journal: John pfaff: "a better approach to violent crime"

"If we really hope to scale back our sprawling prison system, we must send fewer people to prison for violent crimes and incarcerate those we do lock up for less time. Fortunately, we can preserve the tremendous reductions of violence we have experienced over the past twenty-five years with smarter, safer, and more humane approaches."