Mark Osler speaking.

In the News: Mark Osler on the First Step Act and Implications for the Upcoming Election

Mark Osler, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, recently published an opinion piece on the CNN website about the upcoming election and how failures in criminal justice reform could impact the outcome.

From the article:

During the hearing, Alexander was asked by a member of the legislature about President Joe Biden’s record on criminal justice compared to his predecessor, Donald Trump, and the former president’s hallmark criminal justice legislation, the First Step Act.

The act helped shorten thousands of federal sentences including those given to people sentenced under harsh crack cocaine laws that had been amended. Alexander’s response reflected not an ounce of ambiguity: “The last administration understood that we cannot incarcerate our way out of these issues. So the First Step Act was just that, the first step in insuring that that American citizens can have a second chance to come home.”

Some observers might have expected Alexander to praise (or at least acknowledge) Biden. He did not. Instead, he continued, “It is my belief that if the last administration was allowed to be in office again, that we wouldn’t be here having this conversation. That administration would have dealt with this … they realized that children are our greatest asset, so why are we throwing our children away?”