Trump Is Right to Embrace Criminal Justice Reform

Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, November 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Trump Is Right to Embrace Criminal Justice Reform


As Democratic gains in the House have continued to rack up in the week following the November 6 election, it becomes increasingly clear that cohabitation in government won't be easy for President Trump. Democrats reportedly already have nearly 100 subpoenas waiting to go as they begin their oversight of the administration.

To some extent, this is how it has to be -- and even how it should be. The Founding Fathers anticipated the adversarial nature of the branches of government, expecting them to check one another. They did not anticipate the partisan system that developed, which sometimes reduces incentives for effective congressional oversight and investigation when Congress and the president came from the same party.

Trump, rather than becoming annoyed at the new scrutiny, should learn to embrace it, and to overcome it by finding as many areas of cooperation with Democrats as he reasonably can. A Democratic Congress doesn't have to mean that his accomplishments come to an end.

Trump already seems to understand this, as his support for criminal justice reform demonstrates. On Wednesday, Trump signaled his full-throated support for a bipartisan bill called the First Step Act, which would reform federal prison and re-entry procedures while also modestly scaling back mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug felons.

These reforms are very much in harmony with the lessons learned by conservative legislators at the state level. In Texas, for example, legislators have reduced incarceration levels and saved the state immense sums of money without suffering from increased crime. That’s because they learned to draw an important distinction between those convicts who comprise an ongoing threat to society, and those with whom society is just very upset.

Super-long sentences are a good means for protecting society long-term from its scariest and most violent criminals. …

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