Bold Business Logo

Is Legal Reform The Answer To America’s Criminal Justice System?

America’s criminal justice system is in desperate need of legal reform to fix a prison service that is in the worst state it has ever been.

In 2013, the Obama administration pushed for criminal justice reform to revamp a “broken” prison system. Legislators called for mandatory minimum sentencing policies to be scrapped to avoid harsh sentences for non-violent offenses, a move that was backed by an unusual bipartisan coalition in Congress.

One of the key reading topics for the Impact Prisons 2017 forum was titled, ‘The President’s role in advancing criminal justice reform’ and looked at President Obama’s essay submitted to the Harvard Law Review on that very topic.

“How we treat citizens who make mistakes (even serious mistakes), pay their debt to society, and deserve a second chance reflects who we are as a people”

President Obama said that “Presidencies can exert substantial influence over the direction of the U.S. criminal justice system. How we treat citizens, who make mistakes (even serious mistakes), pay their debt to society, and deserve a second chance reflects who we are as a people and reveals a lot about our character and commitment to our founding principles.

“And how we police our communities, and the kinds of problems we ask our criminal justice system to solve can have a profound impact on the extent of trust in law enforcement and significant implications for public safety. I saw firsthand how our criminal justice system exacerbates inequality. It takes young people who made mistakes no worse than my own and traps them in an endless cycle of marginalization and punishment,” he added.

However, President Trump recently called for tougher sentencing and criminal justice system reform of his own, but in the opposite direction. Although these steps have yet to be taken the division in governing styles between his and the Obama administrations is already very evident.

Analysts have suggested that Trump’s ‘law and order’ rhetoric could take the American legal system back to the nineties, and reverse the good work the Obama administration has achieved over the past eight years.

Legal reformists have warned that unless Congress can take back power from the ‘imperial presidency,’ a moniker used to describe the ever-increasing power developing within the White House, the criminal justice system will fall into further disrepair.

Congress holds the power to make, break, and approve laws, and legislators are being encouraged to join forces to manipulate the skills they possess to give America the legal reform it deserves.

In an exclusive interviewcriminal justice reform with Bold Business, Jim Copland, Director of Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute, says that the key to legal reform in the United States is to scale back the federal regulatory state and give the power back to Congress and the courts.

“The administrative actions that Congress has been delegating to the executive branch fundamentally reshapes the way our government works. If we can rein that in, then we can return some of the power to Congress and in effect to the people,” he said.

So, it will take many bold actions by those in power to push forward the criminal justice reform the United States so desperately needs, to improve the prison service, and to bring it into the modern age.

It remains to be seen what steps President Trump will take and whether he exercises less or more power over federal laws, but one thing is sure that during his presidency legislators must work tirelessly to ensure Congress can take back control from the executive branch to allow Americans the free society they deserve.

US Prison System and Police Forces Improvement’s on Legal Reform

Bold Business looks into the US prison system, incarceration rates, and what can be done to tackle this issue.

When Hillary Clinton announced that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population compared to just 5% of the world’s total population, the fact checkers were out in force to corroborate the numbers. Not only did these statistics turn out to be correct, but it also revealed that there are more people in the prison system today despite having low record crime rates.

According to the World Prison Population List, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, at roughly 716 people out of every 100,000. Results show that more than half of the 222 countries studied were below 150 per 100,000 people.

Considering these results, policymakers, lawyers and experts up and down the country have been looking at viable solutions to improving America’s prison system and bringing it in-line with the modern age.

Impact NY has done just that, and after researching and preparing with experts, they hosted a debate on how America should reinvent its prisons and corrections system for our current age.

Impact Prisons holds regular six-month projects dedicated to educating the public on the United States Prison System and Criminal Justice Reform. The initiative aims to support intelligent and hopefully transformative improvements to the criminal justice system.

Incarceration Rates - US Prison System

The 2016-2017 project culminated in a public event held in New York City where top speakers and experts from Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Neuroscience took part in discussions aimed at improving the system.

The entire project received top-flight support from Columbia University’s Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and Harvard University’s Department of Economics, and provided a balanced look at the prison system, and what is needed for reform.

Two topics discussed during the Impact Prison System 2017 forum, were the overwhelming disparity between black and white inmates, and the dramatic increase in the number of women in incarceration.

According to The Sentencing Project, African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times that rate in five states. What’s more, over the past 25 years, there has been an increase in women in prisons, which now stands at eight times higher than its population count in 1980.

Policymakers say these rises are the result of an increased law enforcement presence (some who specifically target people of race or color), tighter sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to re-entry that affects only women.

Policymakers state that the only way to combat these startling figures is not only through legal reform but by a complete overhaul of the prison system and police forces, right across America.

Check out part two of our prisons series to learn more about how changes to America’s criminal justice system will improve prisons, change laws, and reform the legal system.

US Businesses Need To Combine Cybersecurity Efforts

Strength in numbers isn’t a new concept, but it’s a bold move for the business community as they strive to combat rising cybersecurity threats all over the country. Companies big and small are aiming for a united front even while trying to cope with the aftermath of a data breach. With minimal support from the government, businesses need to work around their ambivalence about sharing threat data in the hopes of bolstering the cybersecurity cooperative efforts they have in place.

Representatives from the US Business Community convened at the House Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Subcommitee Hearing on March 9, Bloomberg reported. Unlike big businesses, majority of small companies need to close in the event of a data breach. Rep Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said the cost of a data breach runs close to $32,000 per attack. The lawmaker also underscores the need to establish cybersecurity assistance at various levels.

The subcommittee hearing also pointed out that cybercriminals are going after valuable personal data from both large and small companies. The recent indictment of two Russian hackers revealed cybercriminal activities dating back as far as 2007 – a time when the internet was still in its toddler years. Cyberattacks are both costly and scary, and while the business sector is trying to do what it can to combat these criminals, they seem to be lacking support from the government.

Proposed Budget For Cybersecurity Cooperative EffortsIn the same hearing, industry experts called out the administration’s hesitance to facilitate cyber threat data sharing amongst the stakeholders. They claimed the government isn’t holding up their part of the bargain, Next Gov reports. By preventing cybersecurity companies from sharing information with their clients as well as the private sector, cyber criminals are ultimately become more brazen.

Yes, a cyberthreat information sharing program is in place, but businesses say the protection it offers is nowhere near enough. Scott Montgomery, Intel Corp’s Vice President and Chief Technical Strategist brought up the lack of ROI when participating in the cybersecurity information sharing model.

At the same time, the business sector is pinning its hopes on President Donald Trump’s upcoming executive order on cybersecurity. Law 360 says the President has earmarked a massive $1.5 billion to safeguard federal networks and other critical infrastructure from internet attacks. This is a pittance compared to the $19 billion proposed by former President Obama to fund cybersecurity initiatives.

Attacks big and small will have a bold impact on the business sector, and not just in e-commerce. Even brick and mortar stores, companies, service providers, suppliers and more types of businesses will suffer crippling effects in the event of a data breach. The question now is who do they turn to for assistance?

If the federal government is unwilling to fund programs for cybersecurity threat sharing, the business community may be forced to deal with this problem on their own.