Steinzor: Trump's reform won't stop mass incarceration

Matthew Freeman

Dec. 21, 2017

"Despite the most extensive bipartisan support in many years for the reform of mass incarceration in the United States, the Trump administration has ignored this enormous problem and focuses solely on greater leniency for white collar criminals."

So writes CPR’s Rena Steinzor in her latest op-ed in The Hill. She goes on to describe the circumstances under which the Department of Justice abandoned its prosecution of HSBC, and with it a deferred prosecution agreement that would have settled a “massive criminal case accusing HSBC of money-laundering for Mexican drug cartels and allegedly serving as banker for rogue states like Iran and Sudan. The bank dramatically expanded its compliance efforts even as it stood accused of committing further crimes, including assisting its customers in evading U.S. taxes. But its agreement went up in a puff of smoke.”

The key to the bipartisan legislation was a conservative desire to cut spending on prisons and a liberal wish to reduce the U.S. policy of mass incarceration — the only way to describe policies that leave 2.2 million Americans behind bars at a cost of $80 billion annually.

The Trump administration scotched all that in a push for legislation that would make it harder to prosecute white collar criminals — that is, people who look a lot like and travel in the same social circles as the high-dollar donors politicians covet.

You can read her piece here.

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