Baltimore Protests Spur Discussions on Sentencing Reform

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Photo via USA Today
Photo via USA Today

This spring’s protests and riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody caused physical, financial, and emotional damage. But they may have also inspired some serious legislative change.

Politico reports that a bipartisan group of top senators are in talks to make some serious changes to how convicted criminals are sentenced–talks that were in part inspired by protests in Baltimore, Ferguson and elsewhere. They’re arguing for early release of prisoners with a history of good behavior and limits to the notoriously harsh mandatory minimum system. These desires for reform come from both sides of the aisle; as a recent New Yorker story points out, conservatives are actually leading the efforts to reform a criminal justice system that many of them see as corrupt, inhumane, and wasteful.

Of course, getting anything substantial–particularly legislation that might be controversial–through Congress is an uphill battle. But it’s good to hear these conversations happening in Washington.



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