A 1990s mugging and the roots of Donald Trump’s hardline criminal justice views


“If current trends continue, one in four black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime. This is a tragedy.” -Bernie Sanders

 

Bernie is right-I think we all know the ugly reality of mass incarceration and the effects of the drug war. He is the only candidate that has introduced Criminal Justice Reform bills- and that speaks on this issue. Trump has said nothing…except he thinks private prisons are “great.”  Trump and Tom Cotton are very ignorant when it comes to Criminal Justice.

Liz Goodwin

Donald Trump waves to staff members of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort as they cheer him on before the start of the grand opening ceremonies in Atlantic City, N.J., in April 1990. Trump attended the gala with his mother, Mary; his father, Fred; and his sister Maryanne Trump Barry. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Donald Trump waves to staff members of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort as they cheer him on before the grand opening ceremonies in Atlantic City, N.J., in April 1990. Trump attended the gala with his mother, Mary; his father, Fred; and his sister Maryanne Trump Barry. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

In 1991, Donald Trump’s mother was walking to a nearby bakery in Queens to pick up a crumb cake when a teenager snatched her purse and threw her to the ground.

Sixteen-year-old Paul LoCasto was later sentenced to three to nine years in prison for the crime, which left Mary Trump, then 79, with permanent damage to her sight and hearing and a brain hemorrhage.

Trump described the incident in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” the only time the presumptive Republican nominee has laid out his vision for the nation’s criminal justice system in detail.

Trump wrote that many families would have gathered around and sought grief counseling after such a tragedy. “But in my family we believe in going the extra mile,” he wrote, adding that his brother contacted the judge in the case and made sure to attend the trial to encourage the maximum punishment possible. “The Trumps believe in getting even.”

Trump’s eye-for-an-eye criminal justice beliefs, forged in crime-filled New York in the 1980s and ’90s, are now largely out of step with the Republican Party. Thirty years after skyrocketing urban violence and drug use sparked politicians to impose longer and longer sentences for drug crimes, America now incarcerates a higher rate of its population than any other country in the world, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars a year. The GOP has led bipartisan efforts in more than a dozen states and in Congress to roll back stiff mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes. At the convention in Cleveland, the party will vote on a policy plank to reduce the U.S. prison population.

Advocates for criminal justice reform are trying to convince Trump to update his views now that he’s the presumptive nominee. They’re hopeful that Trump’s beliefs are more malleable than they may seem at first glance, especially since many politicians, including Hillary Clinton, were staunchly tough on crime in the ’90s until more recently embracing reform.

“The fact that he has this CEO mentality will actually work in our favor,” said Holly Harris, executive director of the U.S. Justice Action Network advocacy group. “Once he sees the abysmal recidivism rate and how much money we’re spending on the criminal justice system, I think he’ll say to the system, ‘You’re fired.’”

Others see hope in his recent relative silence on the topic. “I don’t feel like we have that much knowledge of what his current opinions are,” said Inimai Chettiar, director of the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. “If Hillary Clinton had said nothing in the last year and a half and we went back and looked at her record, we would think she was against reform.”

But as recently as November, Trump explicitly said his views on the topic had not evolved, according to a forthcoming Brennan Center report. “No, I’m tough on crime,” he said when asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if he was convinced by the conservative arguments to reform the system. “I’m tough on crime, and we have to stop crime. You look at what’s going on in the inner cities right now, it’s unbelievable.”

Continue Reading @ Yahoo News 

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