This piece was originally published at GenFKD.
The Donald Trump criminal justice platform doesn’t have a whole lot of details, but the candidate bills himself and his platform as “tough on crime.”
Trump’s campaign website doesn’t contain a platform related to sentencing, incarceration, or police brutality – key areas in the current discourse on criminal justice – but, over the years, and during his campaign, he’s said a number of things from which we can get a sense for where he stands.
When crime comes up in The Donald’s speeches and on his campaign page, it’s usually in the context of immigration – something which the candidate has obviously discussed at length.
Trump believes that a lot of crime in the United States is committed by people who are in the country illegally. If he had his way, immigrants who have committed a crime would have to go back to whence they came. The candidate would also like to make committing a crime while in the country illegally a separate crime unto itself.
As for people caught trying to cross the Mexican border illegally, Trump would have them detained until they go back to their home countries. Meanwhile, he also wants to apply criminal penalties to those who overstay their visas.
Finally, a Trump immigration policy would have the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency, working with local gang task forces to identify and deport undocumented immigrants who have participated in gang activity.
Trump thinks the drug problem will largely go away in America if Mexico pays for that damn wall, since he thinks undocumented immigrants are largely responsible for bringing drugs into the States.
He has spoken in support of more drug treatment facilities, though his emphasis seems to be on law enforcement. He said in a video:
Believe me, I will solve the problem. … They’ll stop coming to our country. And the people that are in trouble, the people that are addicted, we’re going to work with them and try and make them better, and we will make them better.
Concerning marijuana, Trump thinks it should be left up to states whether or not it’s legalized, but that medical marijuana should be legal.
The Donald hasn’t had much to say regarding the incarceration rate in America.
Way back in 2000, he wrote in his book, The America We Deserve, “The next time you hear someone saying there are too many people in prison, ask them how many thugs they’re willing to relocate to their neighborhood. The answer: None.”
Trump was asked in November if he’s changed his position. He said he had not – that he’s still “tough on crime.”
So far, we haven’t heard from Trump anything pertaining sentencing reform, such as reducing mandatory minimums, which has become a major bipartisan cause in the legislature.
Trump has been very vocal in his support of the police. Unlike his main challenger, Sec. Hillary Clinton, Trump has not expressed support or sympathy to the Black Lives Matter movement; when asked about the problem of police brutality the movement emphasizes, Trump repeatedly expresses his support for police.
Last summer, for example, after acknowledging that police officers sometimes make mistakes, he said:
But at the same time we have to give power back to the police, because we have to have law and order. We have to give strength and power back to the police. You’re always going to have bad apples… [but] the police have to regain some control of this crime wave and killing wave that we have in this country.
In a January debate, Trump followed up on this stance, stating: “Police are the most mistreated people in this country.”
And, in a speech to a police officers’ union, which endorsed him in December, Trump stated that anyone who kills an officer should be given the death penalty. He also criticized President Barack Obama’s efforts to reduce the use of military equipment by police departments.
From what he’s said thus far, Trump’s position on criminal justice system centers on beefing up law enforcements’ ability to put people behind bars, whether they are undocumented immigrants or Americans who commit crimes.
With a platform based on law and order, it is highly unlikely we will see Trump support things like sentencing reform or demilitarization of police forces. Then again, considering there is varying bipartisan support for decreasing America’s prison population, he may need to rely on his famous flexibility as we move further into the general election.
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