White House roundtable on prison reform, and the news in criminal justice this week

"We can help break this vicious cycle”

In a positive signal for federal reform legislation, President Trump gathered conservative advocates from across the country for a White House roundtable on prison reform. The roundtable follows bipartisan meetings held by Jared Kushner’s Office of American Innovation, and discussions of prison reform at the Camp David meetings over the weekend. 

“The last thing we want is for them to find themselves back in trouble with the law”

In his State of the State address, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey reinforced his commitment to reducing recidivism and highlighted success stories from the Second Chance Centers job training programs.  Leading up to the address, Ducey also said it was time to reevaluate the way prison beds are used in his state to prevent the need for expensive prison expansions.

"Ending cash bail is an idea whose time has come”

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that his office would no longer seek bail for many nonviolent misdemeanors and violations. Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, whose office quietly reformed policies behind bail requests in April of 2017, said he’s pleased with the policy. “We’re not jeopardizing public safety, the results are positive.”

"I’m hopeful that they will be truth-tellers and provide a path toward solutions”

In the wake of a deadly prison riot last year, the Delaware Department of Corrections is hiring independent experts to review certain welfare policies. DOC officials plan to hire an outside agency to make recommendations for improvements in the inmate grievance process, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care will start an assessment of the inmate care process later this month. 

“There are times when you go fishing and the fish jump in the boat with you”

Oklahoma District Attorneys seized $6.8 million in cash last year, nearly double the amount seized in 2016. This total does not include cash or property seized by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Public Safety, or through federal agencies.