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Prison Reform

Criminal justice reforms in 33 U.S. states have reduced the overall prison population, Pew Charitable Trust reported on its podcast, “After the Facts.” Crime rates also have declined. The U.S. prison population began expanding rapidly in the 1970s, peaking around 2007 with 1 in 100 persons being imprisoned, podcast host Dan LeDuc noted in his […] Read More

President-elect Donald Trump offered positive statements after his victory. “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” he said. “I mean that very sincerely.” Trump said, “Now it is time for America to bind […] Read More

Lengthy sentences for drug offenses are “one of the key drivers” to overcrowded prisons, bursting budgets and contributing to “a state of crisis” within the federal prison system. These conclusions were set forth by a bipartisan task force that was established by the U.S. Congress in 2014. Its task was “to conduct an independent assessment […] Read More

Heroin and prescription drug abuse were the focus of a bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week. “America is experiencing a historic epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Over 47,000 died from overdoses in 2014 … more deaths than resulted from either car crashes or gun violence,” said committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in his […] Read More

The length of federal prison sentences have more than doubled since 1988, which has resulted in billions of additional costs, according to an issues brief from the Pew Charitable Trusts. “Across all six major categories of federal crime – violent, property, drug, public order, weapon and immigration offenses – imprisonment periods increased significantly,” Pew noted, […] Read More

What issue has continued to transcend Washington’s partisan gridlock? Reforming the criminal justice system. Folks on both sides of the aisle agree that it is broken, and they are finding significant agreement on how to correct the numerous failings. has focused regularly on this topic in the past several years, highlighting the faith community’s […] Read More

More than 5 million children have had at least one parent with whom they live be incarcerated at some point in their childhood. This estimate was part of a report published by Child Trends (CT), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group focused on issues related to children and youth, which sought to determine the impact of […] Read More

Bipartisan prison reform legislation set forth late last week offers light to pierce the darkness of political partisanship and gridlock. The proposed bill was set forth by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and assistant Democratic leader Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), who have been joined by John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Mike Lee […] Read More

The inmate population serving drug-related sentences in U.S. federal prisons has increased more than 1,800 percent since 1980. The Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT) published an issues brief that showed mandatory drug sentencing laws enacted in the 1980s and 1990s have contributed to an ever-growing federal prison system budget ($6.7 billion currently) – with few positive […] Read More

Michael Santos continues his long road of redemption. Santos is a former student and friend of mine whose personal journey I’ve described on in two previous columns. The first, written as he was beginning the last of his 26 years of confinement in federal prison, portrayed the beginning of his liberation over 20 years […] Read More