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Trump Supports Rollback of “Clinton crime law that disproportionately harmed the African American Community”

Trump Supports Rollback of “Clinton crime law that disproportionately harmed the African American Community”

“a bipartisan bill to reform federal sentencing guidelines”

During a press conference on Wednesday with members of Congress and other partners, Trump announced support for the First Step Act, which is intended to give a second chance to former prisoners who have paid their debt to society.

Samuel Chamberlain reports at FOX News:

Trump backs sentencing reform bill he says will give ex-inmates ‘a second chance at life’

President Trump threw his support behind a bipartisan bill to reform federal sentencing guidelines Wednesday, which he said would “reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption.”

“We’re all better off when former inmates can receive and re-enter society as law-abiding, productive citizens,” Trump said in brief remarks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “And thanks to our booming economy, they now have a chance at more opportunities than they’ve ever had before.”

The so-called First Step Act, the first major rewrite of the nation’s criminal justice sentencing laws in a generation, will boost rehabilitation efforts for federal prisoners and give judges more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses. In particular, the bill lowers the mandatory minimum sentence for non-violent repeat drug offenders from 25 to 20 years, reduces mandatory minimums for other crimes from 20 to 15 years, and makes no distinction between powder cocaine and crack cocaine.

Trump noted that this act does not mean being soft on crime and that it has the backing of the law enforcement community. He also noted that it will repeal some of the provisions of Clinton crime laws which were unfair to the African American community.

Watch the video:

The act has the support of many key players in the Senate, including Chuck Grassley, who played a major role in its creation:

Lindsey Graham is also very enthusiastic:

Here’s an excerpt from the White House press release:

President Donald J. Trump Calls on Congress to Pass the FIRST STEP Act

CALLING FOR BIPARTISAN ACTION: President Donald J. Trump is calling on Congress to take action and support the bipartisan prison reform legislation, the FIRST STEP Act.

– President Trump supports the FIRST STEP Act, which will help improve our Nation’s criminal justice system.
The FIRST STEP Act enjoys widespread support across the political spectrum.

– Many of the reforms included in this legislation passed the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 360–59 in May 2018.

– Republicans and Democrats in the Senate worked with the White House to craft a bipartisan sentencing reform compromise, which has been added to the legislation.

– So far, seven major police organizations, more than 2,700 faith and evangelical leaders, and hundreds of conservative organizations and leaders support this legislation.

Trump is making an effort to reach across the aisle. Will Democrats dare rebuff him on this?

Featured image via YouTube.


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This is pandering. If we learned anything in the sixties and seventies is this doesn’t work. ‘Reform’ in criminal justice speak means people die. One thing and one thing alone works in the US and that is locking up criminals. When you move away from that criminals get off, get out sooner and victimize people.

    MattMusson in reply to forksdad. | November 15, 2018 at 10:50 am

    But remember, biologically, the peak years for violence are approximately 17-27. When criminals are warehoused for that time period, they come out biologically less violent.

    The majority of 30 year olds just want to get on with their lives.

    Disclaimer – I am not talking about gang members where violence is socialized. Or, psychopaths.

Yet another disastrous program for which we can thank President Nixon: The “War on Drugs”.

    Shadow5 in reply to snopercod. | November 15, 2018 at 10:07 am

    The war on drugs was based on sound reasoning. It was the implementation that failed. To many politicians chose to look at drug users as victims, knowing full well that the use of recreational drugs is dangerous to both the user and society in general. While sentencing guidelines were ridiculously stiff, the fact that no real attempt at sientificly based treatment was implemented returned addicts to the street.
    A Supply and demand criminal enterprise was created.

      Sure, perfectly sound reasoning. Look how well alcohol prohibition worked out.

        Shadow5 in reply to Paul. | November 15, 2018 at 10:23 am

        You are correct. And why did prohibition fail. The consumption of alcolhol has been around sense the dawn of civilization. Completely removing alcohol from society through a ridged act of Congress in one fell swoop was doomed to failure.

          Completely removing alcohol from society through a ridged act of Congress in one fell swoop was is doomed to failure.

          Fixed it for you.

Of course it is, that’s what politicians do all day every day. What we’re talking about in plain English is letting black criminals out of prison a little sooner. The productive members of society are paying for keeping them in but for the most part, their victims are other criminal black men. Not a good investment. A 20-year sentence instead of 25 will still make most of these guys in their early forties when they get out. They are much less likely to commit crimes at forty than when they were twenty.

    Shadow5 in reply to floridaman. | November 15, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Your point about resitivism is highly debatable. I dont have the the stats readily available but I seem to remember that people are 80% likely to return to criminal activity upon release from prison. (Time of incarceration may have bearing on the resitivism rate. I’m not up to date on that.) One thing I am sure of is that releasing drug addicts back into society with out sientificly sound treatment does nothing to improve their chances of success.

      floridaman in reply to Shadow5. | November 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      According to the Federal Sentencing Commission, the recidivism rate for prisoners under 30 is roughly 64%, ages 30 to 39 is 54%, and 40 to 49 is 43%. that’s a huge difference.

I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like a lone voice screaming about the hazzard of recreational drugs. To me it is common sense that anything that alters the level of consciousness or changes the chemistry of the brain should be regulated (and that includes alcohol). And before someone screams thats unconstitutional it is leGal under the commerce clauses of Artical 1.

Our population is on the wrong side of the law to such an extent that our judicial system cannot provide a trial by jury to all offenders. Our prosecutors use plea deals to exercise the power of governmental force over whomever they may choose. This is in fact and deed the rule of men, not the rule of law.

Is it our population that is wrong or is it our system of laws and regulations? So far, we’re not required by the rule of law to place labels on our driveways warning people not to eat them, but just give congress time.

As long as plea deals are allowed, our society will be forever caught in this expanding spiral of law and regulations encroaching ever more into our daily lives.

As to our criminal law specifically, there should be no sentences except for actual crimes and any sentence over ten years is too long. If crime is so horrendous as to require a fifteen year or more sentence, then the death penalty should be imposed. Expulsion from society, no longer being possible, has to be replaced by something, but life sentences are not adequate nor are they healthy for criminals, prison populations, courts or society.

    Halcyon Daze in reply to stablesort. | November 15, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Instead of warehousing in mental institutions government has taken to warehousing in penal institutions. Looks different to the public, but the public is totally immersed in their own emotions so they pay no attention.

In one way I am in full support of PDJTs action here there should be no distinction between sentencing for cocain or crack cocaine.

“– Many of the reforms included in this legislation passed the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 360–59 in May 2018.”

Latest chyron seen on CNN: “These legislators are obviously white nationalist minons of the evil orange ‘literally hitler’ and his racist agenda to oppress minorities.”


Among the consequences of the war on drugs are the militarization of our police and the assault on our freedoms (no knock warrants, etc). Those alone make the war, IMO, not just a failure, but a travesty. Those are not addressed in this bill. Hopefully, a new, more conservative judiciary can reverse that trend.

    These are all talking points which are largely BS.

    The war on drugs exists for one simple reason, a significant portion of the population is both lacking in self control and is stupid. Almost all drug overdoses as well as drug addictions are self inflicted. Now, this would not be a problem, except for the fact that these things cost the rest of society economically, monetarily, socially and even personally. We have stringent laws against driving while impaired due to drug consumption. Yet, a significant number of people continue to drive while impaired by alcohol and other drugs and their actions result in a tremendous amount of property damage, injury and death; usually to innocent by-standers. Drug overdoses cost the taxpayer a huge amount of money every year in hospital and medical costs. Drug addiction costs the nation a huge amount of money due to lost productivity, treatment and, often welfare. Recreational drug use, including alcohol use is a net loss for society.

    Now, about the “militarization” of LE. More BS. American LE does not use armed aircraft, the military does. LE does not use armed armored vehicles. The military does. LE does not use high explosives or HE missiles, as a general rule. The military does. The vast majority of LEOs do not use fully automatic weapons. The military does. See a pattern here? The “militarization” of LE is nothing more than a BS talking point. LE does not operate like the military. In fact, the room and building clearing tactics used by the military today were taught to them by LE following the Battle of Hue in 1968. Up until that time the preferred military method of room clearance consisted of introducing a live hand grenade into the room and waiting for the explosion to incapacitate the people in that room. Clearing a building was usually accomplished by leveling it with cannon fire.

    As to the war on drugs being a failure, is it? Humanity is what it is. Human beings will continue to find ways to change their perception of reality, no matter what society does. But, that does not mean the society should not make an effort to reduce this practice to mitigate negative affects of drug use on the rest of society. After all, millenia of laws have not stopped the crimes of theft, rape or murder. Yet, society wages a continual war on these activities.

    If people could be depended upon to use recreational chemicals responsibly, then there would be NO need to regulate their possession and use. But, alas, human beings, as a species can not be relied upon to do this, as history has proven. So, regulation becomes necessary.

      Barry in reply to Mac45. | November 15, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      I could leave my house and figure out who and where to purchase drugs from, and be back home in <45 minutes.

      "After all, millenia of laws have not stopped the crimes of theft, rape or murder."

      I could leave my house and be gone all day with no fear of being robbed, raped, or murdered.

      The war on drugs is a dismal failure. There is no constitutional authority for the feds to have any say in the use of drugs, or the distribution. It's a big waste of money and time, just like using the drugs themselves.

        Mac45 in reply to Barry. | November 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm

        Barry, in the case where you are going out to buy drugs, you are the criminal, not the victim. If you do not go out looking for drugs, then you probably have no idea where to buy them. And, you probably can figure out where you ARE likely to get robbed, raped or murdered within a travel distance of 45 minutes from your house. Now, most people attempt to avoid going to areas where they are liable to be robbed, raped or murdered. However, they still get robbed, raped and murdered. In fact, they sometimes come home to find their home was burgled. And, often, they are the victim of theft, robbery, rape and murder perpetrated by people under the influence of drugs, or attempting to obtain money to buy drugs. Now, we can’t really stop people from using drug, if they get their hands on them. So, we have to attempt to control the availability of drugs. Arguing that we eliminate the laws making the possession of drugs illegal because people violate the law by illegally using illegal drugs is as ridiculous as saying that laws against theft or murder should be eliminated because people violate them and commit theft and murder.

      VaGentleman in reply to Mac45. | November 16, 2018 at 2:14 am

      Sorry Mac45, I have to disagree with you on this one. In the 20’s we tried a war on alcohol – it failed. We used the same tactics then we are now using in the war on drugs but seem surprised when we get the same results. We gave millions to organized crime, corrupted police and judges, made folk heroes out of sociopaths, and, in the end, surrendered to the will of the people and taxed it. The war on drugs has produced all those evils, and more. The costs to our society have been far greater than the costs of prohibition. In the 20’s, the rise in murders due to gang violence led to federal firearms legislation. The same is true today when 60-70% of murders are committed in a few cities over drug territory and that leads to calls for more gun laws – more violations of the rights of the innocent.

      Police departments have not only been militarized, they have been corrupted. The abuse of no knock warrants and asset forfeiture are well documented. Arrests that could be made quietly become swat training exercises. BATFE reports that there are ~500,000 machine guns (any weapon capable of firing > 1 shot with a single trigger pull) registered. About 175,000 of those are civilian owned (private collections, museums, individuals). The rest are mostly owned by police agencies. That’s about 300k full auto weapons, or 6k per state. (Those guys in WY are really well armed.) Many of the weapons transfer between shifts (eg, stay with the car) so a lot of the 1.1 million officers have access to a full auto weapon while on duty. And I’m not knocking the cops; as in the 20’s, they are responding to the bad guys increasing fire power, which is largely as a result of the drug trade wars over territory, just as the alcohol wars led to the Tommy gun.

      Just as with alcohol, there will always be some who abuse it. Prohibition provides organized crime with an irresistible opportunity. We have too many people with too much invested working against any real change. The criminals want drugs to be illegal, not regulated. Corrupt officials want the payoffs to continue. Police careers and pensions are on the line. And, there is a demand for the product. The people who are supposed to end the war have a vested interest in keeping it alive. The fact is that we have lost the war.

      You can, in any major US city, easily get any illegal drug you want if you have the cash. Would use really increase if it was a legal, regulated substance? Gambling used to be illegal, and organized crime ran it. Now states compete for casinos. Could that be a model we might look at? Are we as a society using the war on drugs to avoid having to come to grips with our own shortcomings as individuals and our responsibilities as citizens?

      The current system has failed in its mission and has a plethora of negative side effects. We need to find something new.

This nothing more than politics and will have no positive effect on society.

First. reducing a 30 year old’s 25 year sentence to 20 years simply places a person with no marketable skills into society at 55 years of age. What sort of job is he going to be able to get? That’s right, a minimum wage job. So, you have a person with no savings, no investments, a menial job, no real job skills which will allow him to advance rapidly and he is proven to be untrustworthy [he is a convicted felon]. So, how is he most likely to better himself? Return to what he knows best, crime.

Second, we have minimum mandatory sentences for a very good reason. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, judges were using their sentencing discretion to hand down ridiculously light sentences for felony crimes. The public backlash to this was to establish mandatory minimum periods of incarceration. Even today, we see examples of ridiculously lenient sentencing; young rapists sentenced to probation, embezzlers sentenced to time served, etc. Allowing jurists greater discretion will simply lead to the same problems for society.

This is a feel good bill which is largely designed to win over minority groups who have a higher criminal participation rate than the societal average.

    floridaman in reply to Mac45. | November 15, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    So, those of us who pay taxes should continue to pay $100.00 a day to keep people in prison because they can’t get good jobs? We also know from recidivism rates that only about 1 in 4 55-year-old released prisoners will land back in jail.

      Let’s talk about the actual recidivism rate, first. Actual statistics place the “average” recidivism rate at 43% [Pew Center] and the recidivism rate for released penitentiary residents at 63%, within 3 years, and 77%, within 5 years [NIJ]. The problem with most studies on recidivism is who the studies put into the pool for study and how they define recidivism. Both the Pew Center and the NJI both dealt strictly with felons released from prison and classified recidivism as an arrest. Other studies used larger pools of convicted criminals [many who were placed on probation] and much stricter requirements for recidivist behavior [often requiring a felony conviction or a conviction for a similar type of crime]. So, most people who do time in prison end up breaking the law within a few years of their release.

      Tax payers can either pay $36500 a year to keep criminal felons from harming the rest of society or they can pay welfare benefits, medical care benefits, probably criminal prosecution costs [both prosecution and defense, plus incarceration, etc] and the costs of person property loss and personal injury. Which do you think is going to be less, especially if the released prisoner is going to right back in prison in 5 years?

      You’re 50-55 years old. You have no real job skills and no employment record. On that basis alone, who is going to hire you? Then you also have a felony conviction record. Such a record does not engender trust in a potential employer. So, there you are working at a minimum wage job, with a bunch of high school kids living with their parents, making less than the poverty level. How do you make enough money to fit in with your age group? This does not even begin to take into account your personal problems which landed you in prison to begin with. People do not go to federal prison for 20 years for stealing a single car or smoking a single joint, or even for a single count of low level embezzlement.

        murkyv in reply to Mac45. | November 15, 2018 at 5:27 pm

        Quite a coincidence that I was watching the movie “Invisible Stripes” when I clicked o this thread

        Raft and Bogart, and right down the alley of your comment.

        Raft, trying to keep clean after prison ends up working with teenagers in a stockroom.

        Eventually, life leads him right back to even worse crimes that his original one

        floridaman in reply to Mac45. | November 16, 2018 at 7:03 am

        Why would we talk about averages? We are discussing 20-year-old perps getting 20-year sentence which makes them at least 40 when they get out. I posted the recidivism rates up above which shows how the rate falls dramatically as criminals age. 40-50-year-olds are not the same guys they were when they were 20. I know they have no skills when they get out but they had no skills going in either. That’s a different problem entirely.

I’m ok with this, but there will be zero credit given in MSM.

“Trump Supports Rollback of “Clinton crime law that disproportionately harmed the African American Community””


Yet another reason to #WalkAway.

“You’re 50-55 years old. You have no real job skills and no employment record. On that basis alone, who is going to hire you? Then you also have a felony conviction record. Such a record does not engender trust in a potential employer. So, there you are working at a minimum wage job, with a bunch of high school kids living with their parents, making less than the poverty level. How do you make enough money to fit in with your age group?”

So you are saying life sentence? I get that you see no difference in the results with a slightly reduced sentence, but you have no answers yourself.

    Mac45 in reply to willow. | November 15, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    What do you think the purpose of long term confinement is? It’s only real purpose is to keep a criminal segregated from the rest of society until that person is no longer a threat to society. Back in the early to mid 1800s, a 25 year sentence was, essentially, a life sentence. And, should a criminal survive such a sentence, with conditions being what they were in prisons in those days, he was not going to be much of a danger to society. Today, with the changes in our medical technology, a convict can be expected to survive a 25 year sentence, if he is incarcerated in early middle age or younger. Is he rehabilitated? Not if the recidivism statistics are any indication. Will he have marketable, legitimate work skills? Probably not. Will he revert to a life of crime? Probably. But, we are now a compassionate society. We tell ourselves that a person who is sent to prison will be rehabilitated and gladly take his place as a productive member of society. However, his previous actions have destroyed any claim he might have to trust from the rest of society. To reestablish that trust takes time. And few people are going to wait, in an existence which has less security than being in prison, to reestablish that trust. So, where a prisoner, who received a 25 year prison sentence in the 1800s, would probably die in prison or be dead within a couple of years after being released, today that person has to survive an existence for which he is not equipped for several decades.

    So, what answer do you have to the problem of recidivism? Remember, with the exception of extremely violent felonies, most convicted criminals are placed on probation. They are not incarcerated until their third or fourth felony. By the time they get to prison, the vast majority of them are beyond rehabilitation. So, again, what is the answer?

If there were a definitive answer, then the problem would be practically nonexistent. I know someone who is a convicted felon for drug charges: possession with intent to deliver. It was his first conviction for drugs but not his first conviction. He has been in jail for most of his life since the age of 16. He is 39, younger than the age group we are talking about but no different regarding employability. I give him hope that he can be better. He has never held a legitimate job, but he likes to cook. There is a restaurant chain that as of now, does not do criminal background checks; that may change, but for now, he can apply as the manager said, “if he wants to work.” This manager is married to a man who got a record at the age of 19 and went to jail for a period of time. He is now a manager. She was sympathetic to the position of the person I know when I started cold calling places to see who would actually consider hiring a person with a record. I told the man I know that he could work towards buying a food cart and sell his own food. Heck, Gofundme has worked for others so maybe he could get a few donations. He is of a Hispanic background, not illegal. I hope that he follows through. I saw a book on Amazon about a federal prisoner who came out and became a well-known chef. This is America, isn’t it?

If men have no hope, then they WILL go back out and recommit a crime [unless they are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole]. If President Trump wants to reduce some draconian laws to make them less draconian, then I am for it. Some of the scariest people who exist have never been in jail, psychopaths who are smart enough to never get caught.

I believe in teaching trades in prison, sports, and programming. A percentage of people in the world are far gone, but there are salvageable inmates.

Prison Reform: Major Achievement for President Trump

The FIRST STEP Act is the beginning of a transformation of America’s federal criminal-justice system into what it should have always been: a system that makes America safer. This legislation unites conservatives, police and civil rights advocates, civil libertarians, business leaders and supporters of social justice.

The fact that law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police and The International Association of Chiefs of Police support this legislation indicates this is nothing of what critics’ claim. In fact, it is a conservative issue whose time has come at the federal level.

Even as we feel a moral command to ensure our criminal justice system reflects our values, it is important to remember that the First Step Act is not an article of faith, but based on proven results in states across the country. Indeed, it is red states most of all like Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina that have proven we can both cut crime and incarceration at the same time.