William Barr Is Out of Step on Criminal Justice Reform
by Tim Lau
Posted December 17, 2018
Barr’s record suggests he might also be opposed to the FIRST STEP Act, the current bipartisan bill on criminal justice reform. If passed, the bill would shorten some unnecessarily long federal prison sentences and enforce rules that would improve conditions for people currently in prison. Barr’s potential opposition to the FIRST STEP Act would put him at odds with President Trump and the majority of Republicans in the Senate, who support the bill.
Barr’s previous stint as attorney general also included troubling positions on criminal justice issues. During his tenure in the Bush administration, Barr helped devise federal policies that furthered mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Notably, in 1992, he published a book by the Department of Justice called The Case for More Incarceration, which argued that the country was “incarcerating too few criminals.” After serving as attorney general, Barr led efforts in Virginia to abolish parole in the state, build more prisons, and increase prison sentences by as much as 700 percent. More…