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February 18, 2018

Notable White House personnel development that should help the cause of criminal justice reform

This recent press article about a new person joining the White House staff should hearten those hoping to see some form of federal criminal justice reform become a reality.  Here are the details:

Brooke Rollins is headed to Washington to join a new White House office run by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  Rollins, 45, is a former aide to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a member of Trump’s economic advisory committee.  Since 2002, she’s run the influential think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, which lobbies on a host of conservative issues in Austin.

Rollins has been working closely with the office she’ll join, Trump’s Office of American Innovation.  The office’s mission is to apply ideas from corporate America to solve the nation’s problems.  Kushner said in a statement he’s “grateful” to have Rollins join his team, where she’ll “continue executing on our key initiatives.”

Rollins already works closely with Kushner and his office on criminal justice reform, an issue she added to TPPF’s policy priorities and championed for more than a decade in Texas. Rollins recently paired with the Koch network on a $4 million, multi-state criminal justice reform project.

Trump campaigned promising to take a tough-on-crime approach. Rollins said the White House has been receptive to TPPF’s ideas on the issue, and the think tank recently added staff in D.C. to work specifically on criminal justice.  “They’re business oriented people and they want results fast,” Rollins said of the Office of American Innovation last year. “They see an organization like ours… and we’ve been able to implement that in Texas, and they want to understand how to do that here.”

Here are snippets of an op-ed piece that Rollins co-authored that was published just last week:

Far too many inmates are incarcerated when they could instead be rehabilitated. Of the 1.3 million people held in state prisons at the end of 2015, 197,200 had as their most serious offense a drug charge; 44,700 of those were for simple possession....

The emphasis on punishment rather than rehabilitation has a high dollar cost — $80 billion a year for incarceration, and an even higher cost in the diminution of the human spirit.

The system traps individuals in a soul-crushing cycle of poverty and prison, while doing next to nothing to make our streets safer or change the behavior of those who are going to be living among us when their time is served.

Proposals to address these challenges are not pie-in-sky do-gooderism; they are a clear-eyed assessment based on evidence and experience. We must ensure that individuals coming out of prison are better people than when they entered. Preparations for re-entry and reintegration into communities must begin on the first day of incarceration, not 90 days before they are released, as often happens now....

[S]tates have seen the results and are instituting programs focusing on education and training that are showing success in rehabilitating individuals and reducing recidivism. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Rollins will not be able to ensure federal criminal justice reforms become a reality ASAP, but her very hire suggests to me continuing commitment from at least some persons to have effective advocates for reform working within the White House.

February 18, 2018 at 12:35 AM | Permalink


She is a horrifying, law school radicalized feminist. She is pro-criminal. She wants to loose black criminals so they may murder black male murder victims. All loosed criminals to her block.

Posted by: David Behar | Feb 18, 2018 7:35:45 AM

"Preparations for re-entry and reintegration into communities must begin on the first day of incarceration, not 90 days before they are released, as often happens now."

Nice liberal sentiments of the sort sneered at by many supporters of Kushner's father-in-law, including a level of governmental involvement that requires competent administration, care and funding. For instance, the various benefits of the Affordable Care Act supported by President Obama, even though I still find "Obamacare" misleading framing:


But, you take what you can get, with the people available. BTW, Trump promised grand results across the board, which would apply here too. So, like Obama in a few places dreaming big, I'm sure if miracles don't happen here, some will also be so very disappointed in Trump as well. In reality, a different standard will apply, since they are realistic about his limitations & will be happy with what they can get.

Posted by: Joe | Feb 18, 2018 10:02:29 AM

Joe. No idea. Can you restate your comment in 1 or 2 simple declarative sentences? Subject, verb, predicate, then repeat.

Posted by: David Behar | Feb 18, 2018 1:59:10 PM

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