What Tocqueville Would Think of Today’s Criminal Justice Reforms

Americans are returning to a debate over recidivism and criminal justice reform we’ve maintained since the founding of our nation.
The early 1800s saw a rise of populist political sentiments in the presidency of Andrew Jackson and a corresponding national discussion over reforming prisons to reduce recidivism. Concerns were voiced not just for protecting the community from crime, but also for helping the prisoner regain a dignified life in society.
Thus arose the penitentiary, created as a means of separating prisoners from corrupting influences in prison cells and giving them a civic education and set of work skills they could use after leaving prison.
In our modern era, the Trump administration has made criminal justice reform a key part of its domestic agenda. The House of Representatives recently passed a reform bill, known as the First Step Act, on a bipartisan vote.
Democrats and Republicans agree that our criminal justice system needs reform. The

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