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June 29, 2017

Pair of Senators introduce the "Reverse Mass Incarceration Act of 2017"

As reported in this article from The Hill, "Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Wednesday to push back against Attorney General Jeff Sessions's 'tough on crime' policies." Here are the details:

Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) introduced the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act of 2017 to incentivize states through grant funding to decrease their prison populations.

It's intended to counter the 1994 Crime Bill, otherwise known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. That law authorized $12.5 billion in grants to fund or offset the costs of incarceration, nearly 50 percent of which was earmarked for states that adopted tough “truth-in-sentencing” laws, which required offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences, according to the Brennan Center for Justice....

The Booker-Blumenthal bill provides $20 billion in grant funding to be divvied up every three years among eligible states. States would only be considered eligible to apply if the total number of people in correctional or detention facilities in the state decreased by 7 percent or more in that three-year period. States must also keep crime rates from increasing by more than 3 percent.

The proposal is estimated to reduce the national prison population by 20 percent over 10 years. “State sentencing policies are the major drivers of skyrocketing incarceration rates, which is why we’ve introduced legislation to encourage change at the state level,” Booker said in a statement. “We need to change federal incentives so that we reward states that are addressing this crisis and improving community safety, instead of funneling more federal dollars into a broken system.”

The idea is based on a 2015 proposal from the Brennan Center for Justice. “The federal government has a long history of dangling money in front of state and local leaders to spur policy changes,” program Director Inimai Chettiar said in a statement. “We saw it with the 1994 Crime Bill, which helped put more people behind bars. This bold bill shifts the current flow of funding in the opposite direction. It is one of the single biggest steps we can take to reduce imprisonment.”

The full text of the Reverse Incarceration Act runs only about two pages and is available at this link.  I would be very surprised if this bill gets any traction in Congress, but even its formal introduction seemed notable.

June 29, 2017 at 12:02 AM | Permalink


Booker may argue, we are picking on black people. I would reply, he is devaluing the black crime victim. I would point out, Booker is the former Mayor of Newark, NJ, a high crime area. If you want the murder rate of Honduras, follow this fool. Mexico and Honduras are low carceration jurisdictions. He is not one to lead on the question of public safety. Then, Cory Booker, Yale Law 1997. Dismissed. Asshole.

This conflict or debate is moot. There will be 20% fewer criminals anyway from other developments. The sides should move on.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 29, 2017 8:44:48 AM

"Mass Incarceration". Go to a Catholic church on Sunday and view the inmates. They call it "Mass". They cannot just get up and leave. They are obligated to come to the lock down ward and sit still or knee down. There is nothing worse. At least in prison you can talk and smile and be happy about nothing. At Catholic Mass you are a total inmate.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jun 29, 2017 11:53:36 PM

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