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2011, 2018

The Lone Wolf speaks

November 20th, 2018|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform|Tags: , , , |

I recently testified in a sentencing and the prosecutor asked me if I was a "Lone Wolf"? Apparently he read one of my blogs looking for dirt and that's about all he could come up with.  I answered, "absolutely" when it comes to Criminal Justice form. I perpetually hang my head in shame when I view the commentary, op eds and press releases on justice reform issues when it comes to the prison aspects! Enter: The First Step Act.   It was comical watching an ex-police commissioner on TV the other night who is now a federal prion expert for doing a minute in a camp!  When asked about the bill, the best thing he had is how it would reunite families!  Are you kidding me?  The bill does not accomplish this nor does it accomplish a majority of the "prison reforms" it claims to but I guess it makes [...]

1511, 2018

Déjà vu all over again?

November 15th, 2018|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I have tracked the various criminal justice reform bills for decades from a unique perspective inside the federal prison system. Each time, it’s the same old song and dance. First come the press releases; then rumors run rampant with the prison population while NGOs and politicians raise money for all the "wonderful work" they are doing regarding reform.  Families then celebrate and people within the system line up at the door for release. The last phase of the process is disappointment when nothing comes to fruition as everyone waits to repeat the vicious cycle. Is this time different? We have been at this juncture many times before with high expectations. It is easy to get caught up in the hype given social media and especially after the barrage of stories and press releases last night followed by the statements made by President Trump. While I usually cry foul at this [...]

2108, 2018

Dear Mr. Kushner

August 21st, 2018|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform|Tags: , , , , , , |

It appears the recent rumblings within the political landscape of justice reform have led to a potential compromise bill in the Senate looming for September. I’ve watched various reform bills since the 1980’s and can honestly say this is the first bill even remotely close to passage. I’d like to thank you for your efforts in keeping reform in the sights of the administration but also challenge you to think outside the box of the “Right/Left Coalition”, academics and advocates inside the beltway. From a practical perspective, a Senate compromise bill must have meaningful reforms like the expansion of the safety valve provisions, making the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) retroactive and reducing some of the more draconian mandatory minimums, especially clarifying the “stacking” in reference to 924(c). These “front end” components included in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.1917) were omitted in the First Step Act (H.R.5682) which has [...]

2105, 2018

Time to rant (Only for serious reformers)

May 21st, 2018|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I  always wonder who writes these crime bills and the First Step Act (FSA) is no different.  After reading the flavor of the week, I just need to remind myself there is no reason to get upset because it's just more beltway dysfunction. While the FSA is actually worse than most of the recent legislation, it has managed to get passed in the House. My DC union connections have assured me it is DOA in the Senate which provides some comfort. Let's hope the FSA is just one of the many other head fakes we have experienced in the past few Congresses. I'm going to do something different in this blog by providing some technical information about the bill's deficits which I recently sent to the BOP. It's a longer, technical read  and will debate and/or explain the merits of the content with anyone, anytime, anywhere! The FSA makes me [...]

3003, 2018

Right Under Our Noses – Part 2

March 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

It’s been too long since I ranted on Federal prison reform but reading the March 26, 2018, letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer sparked unpleasant memories and inspired me to sit down to write this little ditty! Anyone who has followed my blogs understands my frustration is often directed at what I call “The DC NGO Mafia” rather than the actual prison system itself. Tens of millions of dollars are funneled into hundreds of organizations by the public and philanthropists in the name of reform while the stark reality is there has historically been minimal federal prison reform for those efforts. Most of the financial resources solicited are allocated on organizational infrastructure such as staffing and rent rather than tangible direct prison related programs and services. Meanwhile, the answer to federal prison reform is far less complicated but practical solutions [...]

1910, 2017

Right under our noses

October 19th, 2017|Categories: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform|

Last week I attended the Smart on Crime Innovations Conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. While it was an informative experience of advocates preaching to the choir, I couldn’t help but feel like the movie Groundhog Day. The mantra of academia and the right left coalitions are the same while only the bill numbers have changed. For decades, we have been missing the mark in the federal justice reform conversation. Probably the most impactful presentations at the conference were from Silicon Valley and it was great to see technology companies taking an interest in re-entry. Academics and organizations have studied these issues to death for decades when the answers have always been right under our noses. Probably the most profound statement I witnessed came from John Wetzel, Secretary of the PA Department of Corrections who spoke of “human dignity” and treating the incarcerated as “people”! As always, [...]

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