One contributor to a new report on American criminal justice called the current system “an affront to our most fundamental values of freedom, equality and liberty,” then suggested sentencing fewer people to prison, sealing nonviolent criminal records and restoring voting rights for released offenders.
Another wrote, “To endlessly punish those who have paid their debt to society is simply immoral,” then suggested, well, sentencing fewer people to prison, sealing nonviolent criminal records and restoring voting rights for released offenders.
If the messages were similar, the messengers were far from it. The first was Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a Democratic candidate for president. The second was Mark Holden, a senior vice president of the company owned by Charles G. and David H. Koch, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting conservative causes.
And if the report showed one thing, it was this: There is a new bipartisan consensus on criminal justice, and it is that the old consensus was wrong.
The report, published Thursday by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, is a sequel to one published four years ago, in which the 2016 presidential candidates outlined their criminal justice platforms. The new essays, including those from eight Democratic candidates and Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to President Trump, show how profoundly the debate has changed.
“In 2015, our goal was to get all of these candidates on record simply saying the word that they were committed to reducing the prison population,” said Inimai M. Chettiar, who leads the center’s Justice Program and was an editor of the report. “Four years later, I think it is a very different landscape, where they are not only committing to ending mass incarceration but also coming forward with far bigger proposals and more specific proposals.”
Read more at The New York Times