President Donald Trump frequently brings up prison reform at his Make America Great Again rallies. The subject is on his short list of favored topics, like the wall at the Mexican border and killing NAFTA.
Trump brought up prison reform in his 2018 State of the Union address. On Monday, he thanked the International Chiefs of Police for working with him on the issue.
The question is, will Trump embrace reform of federal mandatory minimum sentencing?
At times, Trump looks as if he is ready to make the plunge. In June, he commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother sentenced to life without parole for serious but nonviolent drug offenses, at the request of reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
Johnson already had served two decades, which to Trump certainly seemed like enough time.
“How this would have happened — and maybe it was a different time, a different age,” Trump said of Johnson’s life sentence during an extended phone interview on “Fox and Friends” Thursday morning. He sounded baffled as to how Johnson could have been sentenced to prison for the rest of her life with no possibility of parole, even though she is hardly alone.
Trump went on to support reform to address the inherent unfairness in federal sentencing.
The law-and-order president is onto something. Federal mandatory minimum sentences were supposed to ensure that drug kingpins served hard time. But there are too many stories such as Johnson’s of mid-level or low-level offenders sentenced to decades, even life, behind bars.