Are we having the adult conversation that we need to have when it comes to President Trump's pardons, his commuting sentences, and about prison reform altogether? I'm not so sure.
Yesterday, President Trump commuted the prison sentence of Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman from Tennessee. Since 1996, Johnson has been serving a life sentence in federal prison for drug possession and money laundering. She is now a free woman.
The president's move is getting bi-partisan cheers, though the Left doesn't want to get too carried away, after all, it's still President Trump. He's not really capable of taking any action the Left would actually agree with, right?
Alice Johnson is the reason that Kim Kardashian visited the White House last week to speak with the President. Kardashian apparently saw a video about Alice Johnson's case last year on Twitter, and ended up putting together a legal team to work on Johnson's case. Kardashian eventually reached out to Jared Kushner, who helped arrange the White House meeting.
Okay, here's the deal. This seems like it might be a positive move by President Trump. And, yes, we need prison reform. I'm all for that. But we can't mistake this for actual prison reform. Alice Johnson may be very deserving of having her sentence commuted. Perhaps life in prison was too much of a penalty for her crimes. But the administration needs to be careful that this doesn't turn into a game of who can catch the eye of the king?
The administration needs to be careful that this doesn't turn into a game of "who can catch the eye of the king?"
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Currently there are 2.2 million people behind bars, a rate of 860 inmates for every 100,000 American adults. It also costs $183 billion a year to run our prisons. While prison reform might improve conditions, and shorten some sentences for current prisoners, we also need to take a serious look at sentencing reform.
The President has an opening here to collaborate with Congress on real prison and sentencing reform. Then a move like yesterday's could be used to promote and roll out the reforms.
Again, this seems like a step in the right direction, but it's also a very dicey step, particularly in the way it's portrayed in the media as: reality star shows up and grandmother inmate gets immediate justice! This issue needs a lot less TMZ, and a lot more adult conversation.
UPDATE: Here's how the conversation went on radio. Watch the video below.
Alice Johnson's release thanks to Trump is a good step – but here's the catch
After a visit from Kim Kardashian West to advocate on her behalf, President Donald Trump has commuted the life sentence of 63-year-old Alice Johnson. The grandmother had been sentenced to life in prison after a non-violent drug crime.