Trump is doing so much good lately I just can’t write the blog posts fast enough! So I’m making this more of a shout out. President Trump just signed into law the First Step Act, which aims to reform our overcrowded prison system by addressing recidivism, releasing many non-violent offenders into parole, and focusing more on education and rehabilitation. It’s about redemption, rather than just punishment.
I wrote on this subject more extensively in 2016 during the campaign. “Can We Finally Get Criminal Justice Reform In 2017?”
(Update! I made a crucial mistake in the next paragraph regarding the Congressional Black Caucus. As it is my practice to correct my mistakes, rather than cover them up, I’ll leave my original words, but rectify my error in the notes at the end with the corresponding asterisk)
The “Congressional Black Caucus” initially opposed it in its early stages. They insisted that the bill do something substantial. Thanks, in part to this, the final version of the First Step Act takes significant steps to reduce recidivism and release non-violent offenders.
The NAACP has expressed their support for this final version, while also expressing some reservations. Now I will agree that it doesn’t go far enough. We need to address mandatory minimums and harsh sentencing also. But as George Orwell would say, a half a loaf is better than no loaf.
I’ll also point out that the First Step Act being less than perfect did not stop the principled Van Jones from supporting it. Van Jones has little nice to say about President Trump, and has called him racist and worst. But Van Jones knows that a good idea is a good idea, regardless if it comes from the left wing, the right wing, or a chicken wing on a string at burger king. That’s why I’ve always respected him.
So, in conclusion, this is a victory for criminal justice reform, but not THE victory. Let’s keep the momentum! This is great, but we need more.
But for now, thank you Mr. President for doing more to combat institutional racism than any president since LBJ.
*I previously made a terrible mistake when I quickly wrote this shout out. I was misled into believe that the CBC did not support this, which I blamed on blind partisanship. However, the CBC only opposed the early House version, which was a much weaker bill than the final version. Kushner, Van Jones, and many in Congress carefully considered the CBC’s requests for improvements and implemented many of them, winning the CBC’s support. This is their statement on the final version. https://cbc.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=970