Criminal Justice Reform Efforts Brace for Tough Road in Trump Era

by Glenn Brenner

Posted on February 18, 2017 14:30 PM

Advocates of changes such as shorter prison sentences find themselves searching for hints on Trump’s positions

The ascent of President Trump—and his choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.)—suggests rougher terrain ahead despite Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R., Iowa) plan to revive the reform push.. Trump rarely spoke explicitly about criminal justice on the campaign trail, but Mr. Sessions, a former prosecutor, is a staunch opponent of shortening prison sentences.

The incoming attorney general said during his recent confirmation hearing that he opposed bipartisan criminal-justice reform efforts because he is seeing worrisome trends. “I was concerned about what we’re seeing, beginning to see, is a rise in crime and, at the same time, a decline in sentences,” Mr. Sessions said. “I felt we should slow down a bit before we go further and make sure we’re not making a mistake.”

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