One of the few bipartisan bills that have gone into national law under President Trump has involved criminal justice reform. While The First Step Act is a federal law, such life-changing ideas as offering inmate incentives to participate in classes or programming to better prepare them for life after prison started here in Texas more than a decade ago.
Another piece of the puzzle was to stop incarcerating offenders for drug charges or other non-violent crimes. Rather than paying the price of maintaining prisons, those charged would go to drug courts and then participate in rehabilitation efforts.
Philadephia commissioner blames reform
This kind of thinking on reform has led to the election of a new District Attorney in Philadelphia in 2018. Despite the fact the D.A. moves ahead on 98% of gun-related cases (which is a higher rate than his predecessor), Philadelphia Police Commissioner is grasping for straws as the city has seen an unprecedented spike in gun violence.
This was recently highlighted on Father’s Day weekend when 22 shootings left six people dead and 26 others wounded. The commissioner openly wondered (without explicitly stating) if the meteoric rise in gun violence in the city since 2016 is tied to the D.A.’s new approach. There have been 550 shootings and 152 homicides in the city so far this year, with the police arresting 820 individuals. The commissioner stated that these “offender-centric” reforms had “no accountability” for gun violence.
Rehabilitation not incarceration
The success we’ve had here in Texas has not sunk in with everyone, even here in Houston. Thus, it is still necessary for those who face criminal charges to ensure that they are valid and fit the crime. An experienced criminal law attorney can protect the constitutional rights of their clients and work towards appropriate sentencing.