US Criminal Justice Reform A Lesson For Us

ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE AUSTRALIAN

US President Donald Trump’s endorsement of criminal justice reform is a landmark for conser­vatives. After campaigning as the “law and order candidate”, Trump has been won over by the argument that government can reduce the growth of incarceration, boost rehabilitation and save money in the long term.

Trump’s support for the new approach cements its position as the new conservative orthodoxy. How this came to be so is something the Australian Centre-Right needs to study carefully.

Last week, Trump held a celebration for the passage of the First Step Act, which he signed into law in December. The act creates incentives for federal prisoners to participate in vocational education, repeals mandatory sen­tences for drug crimes and restores some judicial discretion for other nonviolent crimes.

Or as Trump explained: “Nonviolent offenders will have the oppor­tunity to participate in vocational training, education and drug treatment programs. When they get out of prison they will be ready to get a job instead of turning back to a life of crime.”

Continue reading