December 8, 2016 Year End Update for Federal Prison Reform

We are providing this year end update as to where National Prison and Sentencing Consultants thinks we are in terms of federal prison and sentencing reform as the Obama Administration comes to an end and President-Elect Donald Trump prepares to take office.

First, although most were optimistic that the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.2123) would be passed by the 114th Congress, those hopes have been dimmed. Extinguished actually. With a lame duck Congress, and the complexities of the transition to a new Administration it seems unlikely that any meaningful federal sentencing reform will happen in 2016. Our only hope is that Congress reintroduces this bill in 2017, but for the time being we believe that the SRCA is effectively dead.

Second, back in August, we reported that by Executive Order President Obama would be ending the use of privately run prisons to house federal inmates. Those prisons slated to be closed or transferred to other jurisdictions were Adams County CI, Big Spring CI, Cibola County CI, D. Ray James CI, Eden CI, Giles W. Dalby CI, Great Plains CI, McRae CI, Moshannon Valley CI, Reeves I & II CI, Reeves III CI, Rivers CI, Taft CI. However, predicting anything that President- Elect Donald Trump would so is a dicey venture at best, based upon many of his campaign promises and some of his Cabinet selections, it seems unlikely that he will close these facilities to federal inmates. Trump has gone on record supporting the use of private prisons—and expanding privatization. Coupled with his solemn vow to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants it seems that these prisons will be necessary for the new administration. As well, the nominee to the Attorney General position, Jeff Sessions, has supported the use of private prisons. Further, his vow to expand the drug war, rather than change away from a 50 year old failed national drug policy, leads us to believe that over the next few years at least rates of incarceration will rocket upwards.

In sum, as 2016 comes to a close, we see little being done on a national level in terms of federal prison and sentencing reform. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about these issues, federal sentencing or federal prison, please feel free to call NPSC at 615-696-6153. God bless, Merry Christmas and best to all for a Happy and Free New Year.