On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives saw the introduction of a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill by Democrat Chaka Fattah and Republican Frank Wolf. The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act (REDEEM Act – H.R. 5158) would:
– Reduce solitary confinement for juvenile offenders
– Provide methods for both juvenile and adult nonviolent offenders to seal their criminal records
– Provide incentives to states to stop treating 16 and 17 year-olds as adult offenders
– Restore eligibility for some benefits to low-level drug offenders
The purpose of the REDEEM Act is to make it less likely for convicted criminals to go on to commit more crimes after they are released from imprisonment. Still, as I read about the REDEEM Act, I have a series of political campaign commercials from the 1980s playing in the back of my mind, with candidates pledging to “get tough on crime”.
Is it possible for the REDEEM Act to get passed in an election year?