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May 21, 2018

"President Trump supports prison reform"

85940444-fb0b-4222-9893-8d947ed60a7f (1)The title of this post is the heading of the lead item on "1600 Daily," the daily promotional email coming from the White House.  Here is what appears under the heading:

Crime imposes a significant burden on Americans' well-being and taxpayer-financed resources. These costs are amplified by re-arrest rates for released American prisoners that exceed 50 percent. Many programs have been tried to reverse this trend over the past few decades. Some of them work; some don't.

President Donald J. Trump supports prison reform legislation that builds on evidence-based programs to reduce prisoner recidivism rates. The President has called on Congress to help former inmates who have completed their sentences to have a second chance to become contributing members of society.

The White House hosted a summit on prisons last week. "Prison reform is an issue that unites people from across the political spectrum," President Trump said. "It's an amazing thing. Our whole nation benefits if former inmates are able to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens."

Learn how President Trump wants to fix America's prison system.

WatchHighlights from the President's remarks at the White House summit

This Fact Sheet (which is the first link above) strikes me as a reasonably detailed statement of reasonably progressive federal prison reforms (e.g., there is discussion of the need to "Expand access to prison work programs to allow all eligible inmates who want to work to gain job skills while incarcerated and prepare for successful reentry into society" and "Allowing BOP to place low-risk offenders in home confinement for the maximum amount of time permitted when appropriate" and "Requiring BOP to make female-healthcare products available for female prisoners").  I would be eager to hear from experts who are especially informed about prison reform and the federal system as to what particular prison reforms they see missing from these White House talking points.

Of course, criminal justice reform advocates are rightly troubled by this Administration's disaffinity for any front-end sentencing reforms.  The Fact Sheet notable states: "Rather than lowering sentences, the President supports reforms that empower prisoners participating in recidivism-reducing programming to obtain 'earned-time' credits."  I am not sure if this statement intimates that Prez Trump would veto a bill that included sentencing reforms, but I am sure this statement accounts from why so many GOP leaders are much more bullish on the FIRST STEP Act than on the SCRA.  

Some of many prior related posts:

May 21, 2018 at 11:45 AM | Permalink


This story is about my son that is currently on Arizona’s Death Row.

Article about Patrick

Sent: Monday, November 25, 2019 10:20 AM

Subject: No Justice For Patrick Bearup !!!

American Post-Gazette
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E in Arizona
November 25, 2019


A man sits on Arizona’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit, while the two admitted killers are or will be walking the streets, free men. Governor Doug Ducey can change that.

In February 2002, Patrick Bearup joined three associates, Jeremy Johnson, Sean Gaines and the instigator, Jessica Nelson, and went to the home of the victim, Mark Mathes. They were there to collect $200 from Mr. Mathes, which allegedly belonged to Ms. Nelson, Mr. Mathes’ roommate.

According to court testimony, Mr. Johnson beat Mr. Mathes with a baseball bat more than two dozen times. His body was then dragged to a car and put it in the trunk. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Bearup, Mr. Gaines and Ms. Nelson then drove to a remote area near Crown King in central Arizona and Mr. Mathes’ body was thrown over the guardrail into a ditch. Mr. Gaines then shot Mr. Mathes twice. Those are the gruesome details. All testimony and evidence demonstrate that Mr. Bearup was involved in the crimes but did not actually kill Mr. Mathes.

Mr. Johnson, Mr. Gaines and Ms. Nelson were offered plea deals. Mr. Bearup was not. Mr. Johnson and Ms. Nelson pled to second-degree murder and kidnapping and were sentenced to 14 years (now out on the street). Mr. Gaines pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years (expected release in 2025). Patrick Bearup got the death sentence. Oh, did I mention that Patrick Bearup is the son of Tom Bearup, former Maricopa County Chief Deputy to former Sheriff Joe Arpaio? The older Mr. Bearup and Mr. Arpaio had “a falling out,” and he ran against Mr. Arpaio twice, in 2000 and 2004.

This is nothing more than retaliation of the worst kind. Mr. Arpaio and former County Attorney Andy Thomas ought to be ashamed of themselves. Certainly the young Mr. Bearup needs to be held accountable for his part in the crimes. He has been in prison since 2002 and on death row since being sentenced in 2007. But being the only one not offered a plea deal when he was not the main perpetrator is beyond the pale. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville, in sentencing Mr. Bearup, took Mr. Thomas to task writing a death sentence was “not justified in the context of the relative responsibility of the co-defendants.” But the judge was constrained by the law and could do nothing, and added, “This Court finds that justice was not done for Mr. Bearup.”

But justice can be done for Mr. Bearup. Governor Doug Ducey can commute this unjust death sentence. Mr. Bearup has served over 17 years and faces an end not worthy of the crime--even the judge agrees. Governor Ducey: do the right thing. Give a Christmas gift to Patrick and his parents, Tom and Adele Bearup, that you can really feel good about. Commute this sentence.

Respectfully submitted,
James Madison

Posted by: Dr. Tom Bearup | Nov 28, 2019 11:20:23 PM

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