Senate overwhelmingly approves criminal justice reform

April FrancisDec 20, 2018

The Washington Post calls this a "rare bipartisan victory" for Donald Trump, and it might be the only significant cross-aisle win of the last two years.

"This legislation is proof that we can be tough on crime and more compassionate to those who deserve a second chance", Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker said in a statement. Trump has not said that he would sign such a temporary measure, but White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday said "he'll take a look at that certainly".

The president has been in a stand-off with Democrats over funding for a wall along the country's southern border, which has prohibited lawmakers from reaching an agreement on a spending bill.

The bill's approval would be a notable achievement for Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has been the leading advocate for criminal justice reform within the administration and shepherded the White House's legislative efforts.

It also retroactively changes guidelines that differentiate between powder and crack cocaine - a change which could affect up to 2,600 prisoners according to the Marshall Project.

Sen. Dick Durbin of IL calls the proposals "poison pills" that would unravel bipartisan support for the bill.

The bill, which was brought to the floor as an amendment to an unrelated measure, survived initial indifference from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a series of amendments from Republican opponents, and the addition of some other amendments before ultimately earning an overwhelming bipartisan final vote. McConnell's proposal would fund border security at its current level of $1.3 billion, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats will support the measure. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and John Kennedy, R-La. Supporters voiced concerns that passing any of the amendments would have sunk the bill. One would exclude more prisoners from participating in educational and training programs that allows them to earn credits.

Inmates walk the exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville California
Inmates walk the exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville California

Federal judges would be given more leeway for their discretion when sentencing certain drug offenders.

Additionally, the bill expands eligibility for elderly or terminally ill prisoners to secure compassionate release. He said Cotton's amendment is too expansive and would prevent at least 30,000 prisoners from participation.

The bill, which is expected to be debated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, only affected federal prisoners which make up approximately 10% of the total United States prison population. He said about 10 percent of victims choose not to be notified because of the trauma involved in revisiting the crime.

Cotton argued that his amendments were in line with the intent of the bill and would "fix some of the worst part of the bill".

"Supporting the Cotton amendment is basically saying to these crime victims, 'We're going to force this information on you whether it's in the best interest of your family, whether you want it or not, '" Durbin said.

The prisoners that will be impacted by this bill are those who are behind bars for non-violent crimes such as drug possession. For example, the Koch brothers-backed group, Americans for Prosperity, applauded senators for putting "policy ahead of politics".

Sri Lanka reinstates ousted prime minister Wickremesinghe
Mahinda Rajapaksa's son Namal Rajapaksa on Friday tweeted that his father would resign as the prime minister of Sri Lanka. When Sirisena's decision was contested, he dissolved Parliament and called for a snap parliamentary election in January.

Related Articles:



Next article »


Popular Pages

Nancy Pelosi Cuts Deal With Democratic Rebels To Ensure Return To Speakership
According to an aide, Ms Pelosi said Mr Trump's fixation with building a wall was "like a manhood thing for him". That essentially guaranteed she will be elected speaker when the full House votes for its leader on January 3.

Flynn Associates Indicted for Acting as Unregistered Foreign Agents
The pair sought to hide that the work was, in fact, directed by the Turkish government, federal prosecutors said. The two worked throughout 2016 to seek ways to have cleric Fethullah Gülen extradited from the U.S. to Turkey.

How Liverpool left Man United trailing in their wake
United have fitness doubts about a whole host of players, and both Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo are definitely out. James Milner is most likely to deputize for Alexander-Arnold at right back against Manchester United .

Apple plans to resolve China iPhone ban with a software update
Earlier this week, a Chinese court ordered a sales ban of some old Apple iPhone against Qualcomm's patent violations. It's the latest step in a long-running saga played out in courtrooms across the world between the two companies.

Is Theresa May planning a second referendum... without Remain as an option?
In October, London and Brussels agreed on the text of an agreement defining the conditions for the UK's exit from the bloc. The newspaper also claimed that Mrs May's chief of staff, Gavin Barwell was supportive of the idea.

Australia set 287 runs target for India on a hard pitch
Both captains played down the onfield sledging with Kohli saying, 'As long as there's no swearing and personal attack it is fine. The fourth and final Test will be played in Sydney from January 3.

Facebook Bug Exposed Unpublished Photos for Up to 6.8 Million Users
The company said it would send an alert through Facebook to notify those whose photos may have been exposed by the latest issue . ABC News reports that Facebook has suffered yet another internal bug which left the personal data of their users at risk.

The Champions League Is Difficult
It will be a hard competition because there are good teams in the Europa League. But I think still we have a few weeks and then we'll see what happens.

France counts costs of protests, new measures at US$11 billion
Last week, the French retail federation told Reuters that retailers had lost about €1bn since the protests broke out on 17 November.

Mavs’ Nowitzki set to make debut of 21st season vs Suns
Nowitzki, 40, was tied with Kobe Bryant at 20 seasons before making his 2018-19 debut. "This is a challenging situation for Dirk". Among the most anticipated scenes will be the first time that Nowitki shares the floor with rookie sensation Luka Doncic .