Misplaced Trust in the DOJ's Expertise on Criminal Justice Policy   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "Criminal justice reform is in vogue. Experts from all sides of the political aisle agree that the criminal justice system is too big and too punitive, imposes too many social costs, and fails to adequately protect public safety. [...] But criminal justice reform is only happening at the margins. That is especially true at the federal level[.] [...] If reform can increase both public safety and fairness while reducing our reliance on imprisonment, then why are major reforms of the federal criminal justice system so difficult to obtain? Professor Rachel Elise Barkow lays bare the reasons why the criminal justice system is so impervious to large-scale reform in her terrific new book, 'Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration.' [...] In this Review, I address Professor Barkow's point about law enforcement resisting reforms, with particular emphasis on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) and the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys' (NAAUSA) opposition to nearly any federal criminal justice reform. [...] In Part I of this Review, I explain how the DOJ and NAAUSA have had a vise-like grip on federal policymakers when deciding criminal justice issues. In Part II, I detail their lobbying efforts in favor of longer sentences and against any reforms that would reduce sentences, and I explain why their claims against reform are flawed. Part III addresses the DOJ's and the NAAUSA's active opposition to criminal justice policies set by the presidents whom they serve because federal prosecutors seek to retain power to the exclusion of all other policy goals."

Open Access. Authors have granted unrestricted access.
Retrieved From:
University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository: https://repository.law.umich.edu/
Media Type:
Michigan Law Review (2020), v.118 issue 6, p.1181-1203
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