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May 25, 2022

New Executive Order from Prez Biden, though mostly on policing, includes some sentencing and corrections matters

This new "FACT SHEET" from the White House, titled "President Biden to Sign Historic Executive Order to Advance Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety," provides an overview of what the latest presidential EO will cover in the criminal justice space. Though focused mostly on policing issues, I was intrigued to see this passage at the very end of the fact sheet:

Reforms Our Broader Criminal Justice System

Directs a government-wide strategic plan to propose interventions to reform our criminal justice system.  A new committee with representatives from agencies across the federal government will produce a strategic plan that advances front-end diversion, alternatives to incarceration, rehabilitation, and reentry.  The Attorney General will also publish an annual report on resources available to support the needs of persons on probation or supervised release.

Improves conditions of confinement. The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, will update procedures as necessary to increase mitigation of Covid-19 in correctional facilities; expand the publication and sharing of vaccination, testing, infection, and fatality data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, and facility; and to identify alternatives to facility-wide lockdowns and restrictive housing to reduce the risk of transmission.  The Attorney General will also report to the President on steps to limit the use of restrictive housing and improve conditions of confinement, including with respect to the incarceration of women, juveniles, and persons in recovery.

Requires full implementation of the FIRST STEP Act. The Attorney General will update DOJ policy as necessary to fully implement the FIRST STEP Act and to report annually on implementation metrics, including an assessment of any disparate impact of the PATTERN risk assessment tool and steps to correct any such disparities.

UPDATE: Here is the full detailed "Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety" from the Biden White House.

May 25, 2022 at 09:40 AM | Permalink


This seems to be an awesome development, but it will take years to implement effectively. One issue will be that many of the petty BOP employees enjoy their unbridled power to send inmates to SHU for the smallest perceived infractions. also, when I was incarcerated in the BOP between 2000 and 2008, the prisons could not have operated without keeping SHUs almost full all the time, because otherwise they did not have enough beds on the compounds to house the inmates in each prison! When the BOP operates above its design capacities, SHU effectively becomes de facto overflow housing. Thankfully, the BOP no longer houses the 210,000 plus inmates that it did when I served my time.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | May 25, 2022 11:24:24 AM

Asking the federal government to improve policies for the federal government. That should work. (sarcasm) Why not just speak to the organizations that have already researched and suggested policy changes? There are plenty of them doing it for decades now. And hold CO's to account. Requiring full implementation of the First Step Act is good.

Posted by: Mp | May 25, 2022 12:27:47 PM

When I looked earlier in the day, executive order had not yet been released. Summary sounds like some decent ideas, but the devil is in the details.

Posted by: tmm | May 25, 2022 2:42:18 PM

Biden's job approval is at about 40%. The job approval for the police is about 53% (https://news.gallup.com/poll/1654/honesty-ethics-professions.aspx). So who is telling whom about how to improve the public's trust in them?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 27, 2022 10:18:04 AM

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