The Texas Public Policy Foundation: Not Always Evil!
Conservative think tank aligns with FIRST STEP Act
The plot got really, really lost when Kanye West met Donald Trump, but they were there to discuss criminal justice reform – as was Kim Kardashian when she visited the Oval – and it's also a pet issue of Jared Kushner, whose own father did hard time, and also of activist/former Obama aide Van Jones, and of now-infamous Senate Judiciary Committee Chairperson Charles Grassley. This motley crew also includes our own, usually evil (and Prop K backing) Texas Public Policy Foundation and its nationally active and effective Right on Crime initiative. The legislative wagon to which TPPF is hitched is the federal FIRST STEP Act (yes, it's an acronym), which passed the U.S. House back in May but has languished in the Senate as Trump has blown hot and cold on the issue. Authored by Brooklyn Dem Hakeem Jeffries and rural Georgia GOPer Doug Collins, FIRST STEP is modest "back end" reform with multiple provisions to improve prison conditions, rehabilitation, and transitional re-entry for federal inmates. Our own Sen. John Cornyn and Rhode Island Dem Sheldon Whitehouse have the bill in the upper chamber, where some want to strengthen it with actual sentencing reform over the strenuous objections of hardcases like Arkansas' Tom Cotton, who's said America has "an under-incarceration problem." It's a big, fascinating mess that may see resolution after the midterms, especially if Trump fires another hardcase, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.