Criminal justice reform is long overdue in the United States. Mandatory minimum sentences and other aggressive laws have resulted in a mass incarceration problem in the United States. Unfortunately, efforts to move forward with reform keep running into roadblocks so the problems with the system persist and many defendants struggle to get fair outcomes. This is why it is so important for those who are accused of wrongdoing to get help from an Albany criminal defense lawyer.
One recent criminal justice reform bill seemed as though it might finally advance and potentially become law, according to the New York Times, as the legislation passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. It is also supported by President Trump as well as by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and close advisor. However, the bill may be blocked by senators who have long supported criminal justice reform.
Why are Senators Blocking the Criminal Justice Reform Bill?
According to the New York Times, some of the senators who are blocking the bill are senior senators who had previously authored a more comprehensive criminal justice reform plan. Many of these senators have spoken out against the bill that advanced in the house because they think it is just a half-measure and is insufficient to actually solve problems within the justice system.
Several of these senators who are opposing the bill believe that the focus on prison programs is not getting to the heart of the problem with the federal justice system. They believe that it is essential to change federal sentencing laws in order to bring real change.
Those who back the more comprehensive reform bill believe that if the bipartisan legislation passes, this change to the criminal justice system will be the only one that occurs for years. They believe that the passage of the bipartisan bill will kill any momentum for future criminal justice reform in upcoming years, so they will not be able to push their own bill through or address the important issue of sentencing reform.
This is especially true since changes to mandatory minimum sentencing laws is a more difficult political issue, so they fear that it will not be addressed if the current bipartisan bill becomes law with changes aimed at reducing recidivism only.
Powerful senate leaders, including the chairman of the judiciary committee, have warned that it is unlikely any criminal justice reform bill could end up passing the senate unless it addresses the issue of mandatory minimums.
This is just one more clear example of how difficult it will be to resolve problems of mass incarceration and reform the justice system on the federal level. With so many competing interests and opposing viewpoints on the issue, finding compromise and coming to consensus may be difficult or even impossible for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this means that the problems with the current system may continue indefinitely.
If you are accused of a crime and are forced to try to defend yourself within the current legal framework, it is imperative you are represented by an Albany criminal defense lawyer with experience. Contact an attorney today to find out how our firm can help you.