Recent Slate article by Brandon L. Garrett discusses the implementation of The First Step Act, the federal prison reform bill recently signed into law by President Donald Trump.

The statute embraced two main types of interventions designed to reduce federal reliance on incarceration. The first increases judges’ discretion to impose shorter prison sentences, while the second allows federal prisoners to earn credits toward early release based on rehabilitative programs and their risk of reoffending.

The article further examines the pros and cons of a bill which relies on the individual discretion that prison officials exercise, informed by the scores from a risk assessment as well as by their own judgment, alongside the resources available for real rehabilitative programs.

Read the full article here.


Brandon L. Garrett

Associate Reporter, Policing Principles

Brandon L. Garrett is the L. Neil Williams, Jr. Professor of Law  at Duke Law School. His research and teaching interests include criminal procedure, wrongful convictions, habeas corpus, corporate crime, scientific evidence, civil rights, civil procedure and constitutional law. Garrett’s recent research includes studies of DNA exonerations and organizational prosecutions. In addition to numerous articles published in leading law journals, he is the author of five books, including: The Death Penalty: Concepts and Insights (West Academic, 2018) (with Lee Kovarsky); and End of its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice (Harvard University Press, 2017).


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