For those of you who are over 50, “Tweeter” is on the internet!
For those of you who are over 50, “Tweeter” is on the internet!
The article below incorrectly claims that Rubashkin received a pardon from Donald Trump. HE DID NOT RECEIVE A PARDON. He was released on a commuted sentence, for time served. He is still a convicted felon who is being celebrated as a hero.
Goal of fundraising to accelerate reform in US administration to provide leniencies for prisoners and detainees on white-collar crimes.
Together with other haredi communities, Satmar has raised some $2 million in recent days to accelerate the reform promoted by the US administration to provide leniency for prisoners and detainees on white-collar crimes.
It is unclear whether this represents a “Rubashkin Effect”, who was released a year ago, or the high-profile arrests being made in the US haredi community. Satmar stalwarts claim the current policy is overly strict and any initiative to ease it is vital and welcome.
Fundraising was done using the popular “matching” method whereby every dollar donated is matched a dollar. As part of the campaign, it was made clear that while President Trump “will not stay forever in the White House, the prisoners will rot there for their whole lives.”
This week a gala event took place in New York to mark the anniversary of Jewish prisoner Rabbi Shalom Rubashkin’s release, who last year received a surprising pardon by President Trump.
A plan to massively beef up federal prison rehabilitation programs being pushed by President Donald Trump and congressional leaders from both parties will cost taxpayers roughly $346 million over the next 10 years, according to a report released Friday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
It is expected to reduce the number of federal prisoners by 53,000. The Bureau of Prisons estimates there are roughly 180,000 current federal inmates. Most reductions would occur in the first year, due to the laws retroactive sentencing changes.
Texas implemented similar reforms to its state prison system more than a decade ago, saving more than $4 billion between 2006 and 2016, according to according to the criminal justice reform advocacy group Right on Crime.
Those savings — after an initial investment of $241 million in rehabilitation programs — have served as the inspiration for similar reform efforts in states like Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina.
“This all started because people wanted to save money,” Mark Holden, general counsel for Koch Industries, which has been a major proponent of the reforms, said at a press conference about the bill Friday.
“They came for the savings but they stayed for the salvation,” Holden said of the states that followed Texas’ lead.
Senators are expected to discuss and vote on the plan, called the First Step Act, early next week.
Though it’s expected to pass with the help of Republicans and Democrats, some of the plan’s biggest detractors have complained about not having seen an estimate of the costs.
Friday’s CBO report chalked the price tag up to the release of federal prisoners who could soon take advantage of government programs.
“Under current law, prisoners are generally are ineligible to receive benefits from several federal programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the health insurance marketplaces, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” said the report. “By accelerating the release of prisoners, CBO estimates that the legislation would increase the number of people receiving benefits from those programs.”
Right on Crime’s Marc Levin told the Star-Telegram Friday that while states’ savings estimates would not have accounted for newly eligible federal benefits, the CBO’s report did not factor in federal taxes the released prisoners would pay if they get jobs.
The CBO also did not assess savings from recidivism reduction, something Texas and other states have experienced since implementing their reforms, said Levin. He suggested as well that fewer prison staffers could be necessary after incarceration rates decrease.
In Texas, lawmakers from both parties implemented the reforms in 2007 after the state’s Legislative Budget Board estimated it would need an additional $2 billion by 2012 to fund its prison system.
The results helped it shutter eight prisons, with several more expected to close in the coming years, according to Right on Crime.
Between 2006 and 2016, the state’s incarceration level dropped more than 20 percent, while the crime rate has dropped roughly 30 percent, the group says.
The plan Senate leaders expect to vote on next week would put money toward anti-recidivism programs such as job training, education and faith-based classes in federal prisons. Prisoners who participate could earn credits to be released from prison early and serve the remainder of their sentence in home confinement or halfway houses.
The plan also gives judges more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses, aimed at keeping reducing incarceration levels.
Top Trump adviser Jared Kushner is winning bipartisan praise for driving a 20-year effort to reform prison sentencing and criminal justice to the finish line and ignoring repeated declarations that it was dead right up to last week.
Liberal and conservative advocates for justice reform are giving Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, credit for cobbling together — despite his inexperience in Washington and with politics — an unlikely coalition that has the package on the verge of Senate passage.
“Jared has been indispensable to this process in navigating through a complex set of relationships and issues, which have been a part of getting us to where we are today and holding together a delicate coalition which has undergirded this effort,” praised Marc H. Morial, president of the National Urban League.
On the other side of the aisle, Republican Sen. Rand Paul said, “Having worked on criminal justice reform in the Senate for the past six years, I was pleased to see President Trump’s White House fully engaged in bringing this important issue to the forefront. This would not have happened without Jared’s personal involvement, interest and perseverance. Jared and I both share a more ambitious criminal justice reform vision, but this was the first step, and we look forward to building onto it in the next Congress.”
And Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, one of the groups in the fight the longest, said, “It’s a big win for Jared. For anybody who thought, ‘That’s the New Yorker, out-of-town guy,’ he managed this effort through the House and the Senate.”
According to several officials, Kushner repeatedly dismissed claims that the effort was dead and instead worked with key lawmakers, interest groups, pastors and even celebrities like Kim Kardashian to keep the effort alive and make changes to the “First Step Act” to reduce opposition.
As it faced delay in the Senate, he and others worked through the final concerns and the president personally pushed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to clear the way for action on the Senate floor, which he did this week. It is expected to pass.
“There were a dozen reasons why it couldn’t happen and two reasons why it could. One is that it is a good idea. And two, you had Jared Kushner keeping his eye on the ball, pushing it forward. Very impressive,” said Norquist.
“Remember, this is the ‘outsider who doesn’t know D.C.,’ threading the needle and moving a piece of legislation through successfully,” he added.
What’s more, he did it with a tiny staff and as he was working on several other important and winning Trump initiatives including changing the North American Free Trade Agreement. While other White Houses have built war rooms to push troubled legislation through, Kushner did it with a core group of three: aides Avi Berkowitz, Cassidy Dumbauld, and legislative affairs staffer Ja’ron Smith.
Their quiet effort to build a liberal-conservative-religious coalition is what worked, said several sources.
“The First Step Act is bipartisan legislation done right — from Jared Kushner and his team at the White House, Reps. Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries to outside groups like the Justice Action Network, bringing together folks with different agendas and ideologies, then working the issue relentlessly,” said GOP analyst Doug Heye, a former Republican National Committee spokesman.
“That this may happen at a time when Washington is so polarized is a real credit to everyone involved, and anytime you can get Van Jones, Kim Kardashian, and the Trump White House together, you just might be on to something,” he added.
Kushner’s yearlong effort was hit with several delays as he learned the ropes, but his calming nature and confidence prompted supporters to join in his nonstop effort to deliver a big year-end victory to the president and prison reform advocates eager to cut harsh sentences for minor crimes.
It went so well that some in the administration and on Capitol Hill are looking at Kushner’s model for future bipartisan efforts as Trump works with the new Democratic majority in the House.
Norquist described it as a “left-right” coalition, and one different from typical bipartisanship among the middle in politics. He also said that it wasn’t a simple effort.
“The model is not just put a guy in charge, have him manage the thing, and have the president when he needed to,” said Norquist. “Jared brought it home, managed the conflict between left and hard left, right and hard right, and that’s where the fights were,” he added.
Importantly, Kushner worked in quiet and kept the sometimes controversial president away from it until his voice was needed at the end.
“He helped manage those things, he kept the ball rolling, and he kept Trump’s fingerprints off it until the deal was ready. And if anything was going to kill it at the end, it was the Democrats’ fear that they would do something that would make Trump look good,” said Norquist.
And the effort is likely to continue on since the legislation is seen as the first of several steps to reform sentencing and grapple with the racial disparity of prison populations.
Morial, who is eager for future action on it, said, “While not perfect, the bill takes aim at moving the process forward on reducing the harsh application of mandatory minimum sentences.”