Prison Reform Stalls in the House
A day after rapper Meek Mill was released from prison, a prison reform proposal hit a snag in Congress. The House Judiciary Committee killed plans to vote on a prison reform proposal on Wednesday. The delay followed behind-the-scenes opposition from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who told the House Judiciary panel members to oppose a narrower prison reform bill without the addition of a sentencing overhaul they spent months negotiating. The omission of sentencing changes is opposed not only by Grassley and Durbin, but also by dozens of powerful progressive groups including the ACLU and NAACP. Politico reports that the Trump administration and GOP leaders want to see a prison-only bill move, not the broader criminal justice bill, but that’s not stopping Grassley and Durbin from what one Republican portrayed as meddling in the House debate. The House bill would provide training programs to prisoners in hopes of discouraging repeat offenses. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a proponent of the narrower version of the bill, has been working for months with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the DOJ on a prison reform bill that could garner enough bipartisan support to pass the House and hopefully the Senate. “I remain optimistic that we can negotiate a prison reform bill that Democrats and Republicans can support and that we get over the finish line in the best interests of our constituents,” Jeffries told Politico. More here.