Jared Kushner—Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor with zero political experience… just like his boss—is apparently involved in discussions over potential changes to the criminal justice system, including mandatory minimum sentencing, which has ruined the lives of countless non-violent drug offenders.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who adores harsh sentencing, is furiously pushing his pitiless, tough-on-crime agenda.
If fresh-faced Kushner can stay out of trouble himself over his meetings with Russians, endless financial conflicts of interest and corruption scandals, he apparently wants to discuss a thing or two with the “beleaguered” Jeff Sessions about tossing people into prison and throwing away the key.
“He’s quietly listening to all sides, including outside groups, to understand what’s possible and to ultimately be able to make a recommendation to the president,” reported the Wall Street Journal, quoting a White House official who is familiar with meetings that are underway on the issue.
“It’s a personal issue to him given his father spent time in prison. He got to know the families and got to see what’s wrong with the federal prison system,” said the source.
Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, a real-estate executive and large-scale swindler, spent two years in a cushy white collar prison after being convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering after he attempted to blackmail his brother-in-law by hiring a prostitute to seduce him and then sent the videotaped encounter to his sister. You know, the normal extended Trump family sleaze.
But to his credit, Kushner is at least talking about curbing long mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
The practice subsided under President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder, who discouraged harsh sentences for low-level, nonviolent offenders, which advocates say contributed to a national rethinking of how America’s drug criminals should be prosecuted.
But that all changed with Trump.
Sessions, from the minute he stepped into the White House, has been promoting mandatory minimums as a crime-fighting tool to help prosecutors get cooperation from suspects and to keep dangerous offenders behind bars, so he says.
Sessions’ recent directive to federal prosecutors to seek the harshest charges and sentences against defendants drew swift opposition from criminal-justice reform advocates both in and outside of government.
Critics of mandatory minimums, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), say they contribute to disproportionate numbers of African-Americans arrested and serving prison time.
A number of states, including several led by Republicans, have revamped or eliminated mandatory-minimum sentencing laws, essentially dropping the ugly remnants of the failed War on Drugs.
And now, might we see a little dust-up between the first son-in-law and the possibly soon-to-be-dismissed attorney general?