Congress took a step toward criminal justice reform last year, but it wasn’t enough
The U.S. prison population has grown since the 1970s from 300,000 to 2.3 million. A bipartisan effort in December, led in part by Sen. Cory Booker, was a respectable start — but one bill isn’t going to solve the problem, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
OPINION — When mass incarceration in America gets political attention, it’s often so the issue can be used as a cudgel to attack opponents. Thus, the president Twitter-shames former Vice President Joe Biden for his role in promoting the 1994 crime bill even as Donald Trump’s own history of hounding the Central Park Five is highlighted in “When They See Us,” director Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries on the teens accused, convicted, imprisoned and eventually exonerated.
When Democrats and Republicans cooperated on a criminal justice reform bill late last year that made modest changes in the federal system, they congratulated themselves for getting something done in gridlocked Washington.