Trump has thrown in his support for bipartisan reform of the criminal justice system. America has the highest prison population in the world, Hopefully Mental Health reform is next.
“We’re all better off when former inmates can re-enter society as law-abiding, productive citizens,” Trump said at the White House. “Americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption.”
The act would expand rehabilitative opportunities for people in prison; ban some of the most startling correctional practices, such as the shackling of pregnant women; and reduce mandatory minimum sentences for a number of drug-related crimes.
I would end all mandatory minimums and three strikes. If a defendant is a repeat offender, that fact can be handled in the sentencing guidelines as an aggravating factor.
I would keep statutory minimums on the lenient side, 1 year for 3rd degree felonies, 5 years for 2nd degree felonies, 10 years for 3rd degree felonies and 20 years for life felonies, with the exception of certain crimes such as First Degree murder, aggravated rape, etc, which would carry a statutory minimum of life in prison.
Guy I helped put away (not related to my work) got a 2-6 year sentence in one state and a 1 to 5 in another. 1 to 5 state let him out after 3 for “good behavior”. State I’m in kept him in for the entire 6. Also Utah does a lot of concurrent sentencing. He actually had three 2 to 6 convictions but he served them all at the same time. I would have preferred consecutive sentences were he would spen 6 to 18 years . . . .
The best way that I can see to improve the courts is to increase their number.
Trials take way to long. A speedy criminal trial doesn’t happen. Simple criminal cases take years in the system (This is part of the reason for the bail reform movement).
More judges, more courts, more trials. (Yes, more jury duty)
Give the judiciary the necessary basic tools (judges, court rooms) to keep up with the need.
First of all, I would like to note that my following comments refer to STATE LEVEL judiciaries, not the Federal, though a judgeship bill is needed at the Federal level.
At the State level, it is not simply a matter of adding more judges, though in many States, more judges are needed. Many State judiciaries, for example, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, are so cluster ****** from top to bottom that they need to be blown up and redesigned from scratch. Other States need lesser reform.
Until that happens, adding more judges will be ineffective, as civil plaintiffs and criminal defendants will still be caught in a an inefficient system.
Which is actually NOT a good thing. While some of these cases are cases where genuinely guilty people pled out for whatever reason, many more cases are cases where defendants were strong armed into pleading guilty by malicious prosecutors or pled guilty to avoid a long term in jail while awaiting trial that often would exceed their final sentence length.
Lack of trials is a symptom of a bad situation, NOT a positive good.