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Brennan Center assesses “Criminal Legal Reform Halfway Through the Biden Administration”


The Brennan Center has this notable new analysis of some of the criminal justice work of the Biden Administration and it reaches the mid-point of Prez Biden’s current term.   The piece is filled with lots of context and links and is worth a full read.  Here is how it starts and closes, with its headings along the way as a kind og summary:

A year ago, we reviewed progress made by the Biden administration toward building a fairer and more effective criminal legal system, as well as missed opportunities. Here we outline major developments since then, including setbacks and steps in the right direction.

Retrenchment on the Federal Death Penalty…

Limited Progress on Prison Reform…

Notable Nominations and Confirmations…

Updates to DOJ Charging Policy…

Limited Progress on Clemency…

Mixed Record on Immigration Detention…

New Investments in Community Violence Interventions…

Critically, the administration can continue to make progress in many of the areas named above without the need to navigate complex congressional dynamics. The power to restructure the federal clemency power, for example, lies wholly within the president’s discretion. The DOJ has already begun to significantly revamp its approach to implementing the First Step Act, and it should continue to do so. And the president could effectively suspend the death penalty on his own initiative by commuting existing federal death sentences to life in prison.

While the president must continue to work with Congress on major legislative priorities, all of these steps and more would represent significant progress on their own.


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