Recent prison reform legislation receives backlash

Recent prison reform legislation receives backlash

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - President Trump’s support of a criminal justice overhaul plan faced some resistance Thursday.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and the National Sheriffs' Association said the measure is "troubling."

It would be the most sweeping prison reform agreement in decades.

"Americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving out fellow citizens a chance at redemption," said Trump.

Federal Defender Doris Randle-Holt said she's been waiting for this for a long time.

For 29 years, Doris Randle-Holt has represented the accused in the Western District of Tennessee's federal court.

"I was around before the sentencing guidelines .. I remember when judges had complete discretion in sentencing," said Randle-Holt.

The deal would:

  • loosen restrictions on certain federal mandatory minimum sentences
  • give judges more discretion to sentence people who’ve committed minor crimes in the past
  • extend a 2010 law that could help federal drug offenders serving disproportionately long sentences

“That message can be sent. Even though you may not give that person a mandatory period in prison .. don’t be mistaken now. If they lax these rules some to give judges more discretion judges are not going to just turn people loose,” said Randle-Holt.

This reform has received endorsement from law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police.

Republican leaders suggested it may not come up for a vote until early next year.

In a statement to Politico, the National Sheriffs' Association said the legislation creates a high-risk path for dangerous criminals with gun crime histories to early release from prison.

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