Evaluating the SAFE Justice Act
As of December 2020, President Elect Joe Biden has proposed to push for the enactment of HR 4261, the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act. Preview the document
Congressional Co-sponsors Bobby Scott (D- VA) and Jason Lewis (R-MN) describe the SAFE Justice Act as including 13 specific policy directives
Reduce recidivism by
incentivizing completion of evidence-based prison programming and activities through expanded earned time credits;
implementing swift, certain, and proportionate sanctions for violations of supervision; and
offering credits for compliance with the conditions of supervision.
Concentrate prison space on violent and career criminals by
focusing mandatory minimum sentences on leaders and supervisors of drug trafficking organizations;
safely expanding the drug trafficking safety valve (an exception to mandatory minimums) for qualified offenders; and
creating release valves for lower-risk geriatric and terminally-ill offenders.
Increase use of evidence-based sentencing alternatives by
encouraging greater use of probation and problem-solving courts for appropriate offenders; and
creating a performance-incentive funding program to better align the interests of the Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Probation Offices.
Curtail overcriminalization by
requiring regulatory criminal offenses to be compiled and published for the public;
ensuring fiscal impact statements are attached to all future sentencing and corrections proposals; and
charging the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Administrative Office of the Courts with collecting key outcome performance measures.
Reduce crime by
investing in evidence-based crime prevention initiatives; and
increasing funding for community based policing and public safety initiatives.
Each student should select one of these 13 directives to evaluate, in a double spaced 12 point times new roman font, 7 page term paper. All external source should be cited in APA format. Your evaluation should address the following three issues:
Identify the specific legal text in HR 4261Preview the document that addresses this issue. Clearly explain how that section alters the incentives facing potential criminals, people who are currently incarcerated, and criminal justice agents relative to the status quo.
Is there any empirical evidence on the likely impact of the suggested reform? What sources of data might be used to evaluate the extent to which the bill improves social welfare?
Does the enactment of previous omnibus bills, like the Violent Crime and Control Act of 1994 or Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968, offer any lessons for how this bill might impact the crime rate, incarceration rate, and racial disparities in who interacts with the criminal justice system?