Obama Lays Out His 7 ‘Commonsense Steps’ For Criminal Justice Reform

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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President Barack Obama published a piece of legal commentary Thursday outlining how a president could further reforms made in the criminal justice system.

“Criminal justice reform has been a focus of my entire career — even since before my time at the Harvard Law Review,” Obama wrote in the Harvard Law Review piece titled “The President’s Role In Advancing Criminal Justice Reform.”(RELATED: Professor Obama FINALLY Publishes A Piece Of Scholarship)

While the commentary is somewhat lengthy, Obama outlines what he thinks the seven main priorities of criminal justice reform should be — what he refers to as “commonsense steps.”

The seven steps include: passing sentencing reform legislation, reducing gun violence, addressing opioid addiction, strengthening forensic science to prevent wrongful convictions, improving data collection, restoring the right to vote for the formerly incarcerated, and making better use of technology. (RELATED: While Trump Wins Election, Several States Passed Criminal Justice Reforms)

“As an Administration, we’ve made some meaningful progress on keeping guns out of the wrong hands through background checks,” Obama contends.

The president says that “Congress should pass the kinds of commonsense reforms supported by most of the American people — from investing in access to mental health care, to expanding background checks, to making it possible to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.” (RELATED: The ATF Is Illegally Hoarding American Gun Owners’ Personal Information)

As for opioids and heroin, “my Administration has worked to combat this epidemic through targeted enforcement activities,” Obama wrote. (RELATED: Big Pharma Spends Millions Lobbying, While America Struggles With Opioid Epidemic)

There were 52,404 recorded fatal drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2015, which is the deadliest year ever. From 2014 to 2015, synthetic opioid deaths surged 72 percent. Specifically in the state of Maryland, heroin-related deaths tripled from 247 in 2011 to 748 in 2015.

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