What are some of the biggest barriers to executing this criminal justice reform act? Morial said that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation removed one of the major obstacles.
“It’s going to be on the administration and the Congress to hold the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons accountable to execute this,” he said.
There are committees being put in place to oversee that the legislation is carried out, but Morial emphasized that it is up to all of us to ensure success.
Because most prisoners are held at state and local levels, Morial said in order to have maximum effect, policies outlined in the federal First Step Act should also be adopted by each state. Furthermore, he said that action must be taken on the local level, including counties and municipalities where people are facing issues with bail.
He added, “We have got to look very hard at the public defender system, which is under-resourced in many places. Which is the reason why many people don’t get fairness because they don’t have access to a good quality lawyer because the system is so overstretched.”
Finally, Morial outlined the need for reinvestment in rehabilitation and re-entry programs. He said allowing people to re-enter society and get back on their feet not only benefits society as a whole, but lowers the probability of re-admittance.
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