Restore Justice — If you want to see real progress for civilization, look up north to the last frontier — Alaska. The state senate has just passed a criminal justice reform bill that may be a model for other states to follow. The example doesn’t just end with the law, it’s also a first hand look at what could happen when people across the aisle work together.
Both Republicans and Democrats came together over a criminal justice reform bill on Saturday, with the goal of reducing the state’s prison population, reforming bail, changing up sentencing and pretrial supervision. Sponsors of the bill say this law would lead to quicker court dates and shorter prison terms for nonviolent offenders.
I’ll highlight the major elements within the bill, and break it down for you.
- Limits on the amount of time people would spend in jail for low-level probation violations, like a missed appointment or alcohol use.
The government could be utilizing its time better by focusing on violent offenders, instead of coming down harder than it should be allowed to on non-violent offenders. This law puts the government back in its place, by making its hand less heavy.
- A change in bail laws to assess a person’s risk of committing a new crime and not appearing in court, instead of requiring cash bail, which gives an advantage to defendants with more money even if they were just as unlikely to violate bail conditions.
The bail system has become something of a moneymaking scam. Cash bail is posted and if you are rich, you have a “get out of jail for a fee” card. If you’re, poor…well, tough luck. With this part in the law, the government and bail industry are now on notice that this isn’t going to fly.
- Additional ways for people to serve sentences for nonviolent crimes outside a cell, including expanded electronic ankle monitoring.
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