After Sessions: A path to Justice restored.
Yesterday, Jeff Sessions rolled back 25 pieces of Justice Department guidance covering everything from service animals, to asking courts not to stuff their pockets off of the poor.
It’s one small part of his broader move to treat many people as chattel. He’s pushed to restore mandatory minimums in drug cases, is actively stripping rights from LGBT individuals and is working to drastically increase our private prison populations.
Simultaneously, Sessions is actively interfering with an investigation into collusion between Russian intelligence and Trump administration officials to steal the 2016 election. Trump administration officials including Jefferson Sessions.
With Sessions and many top Republicans on a path to either end the rule of law or end up out of a job, it’s time to look at what the aftermath might look like.
As an occasional optimist, let’s assume we avoid a descent into fascism and have a free and fair election in 2018. How do we start to restore our institutions and ideals? What would liberty and justice even look like?
A good place to start is the next Justice Department. On day one, a new Attorney General should roll back any administrative edicts Sessions has issued and reinstate Obama-era guidance.
Next, they should dedicate investigative and prosecutorial resources towards swiftly arresting and trying anybody complicit in treason, including those participating in any conspiracy to cover it up.
The new AG should dedicate additional resources towards prosecuting white collar and corporate crimes, with a focus on Wall Street robber barons; and candidates and lobbyists openly flouting campaign finance laws.
She should direct her prosecutors to throw the book at healthcare and pharmaceutical companies price gouging the sick and fueling our nation’s addiction crisis.
Of course, that could result in a lot more bodies in our already crowded prisons. That’s why the Attorney General must work with the President to delivery amnesty to many of the drug offenders, who make up nearly half of our federal prison population. Additionally, the AG should work with the new Director of Homeland Security to reverse the Trump administration’s unjust and unwarranted detention of immigrants.
That means a lot of prisoners reentering society, and some will point to high recidivism rates (76.9% of drug offenders are re-arrested). The good news is that can be improved by investing in rehabilitation. Norway, which focuses heavily on rehabilitation, has a recidivism rate of just 20%. That big of a change in focus will be expensive though, which is why the Justice Department must change priorities.
Major rehabilitation and reintroduction programs can be funded by the ill-gotten assets of all our new convicted white-collar felons. With Session’s help, Justice has gotten very good at seizing assets. Additionally, the AG should end the distribution of military equipment to police departments, and buy the hardware back to boost our military’s readiness (surely to the delight of any remaining Republicans). In its place, Justice should devote resources towards expanding highly effective community policing policies in local departments.
Next, the new Attorney General should rapidly move to end contracts with private prisons. Since these prisons make up 65% of ICE facilities and nearly 1/5th of other federal capacity, that might put the bureau of prisons under strain, what with all the traitors. If only we had a place specifically designed to keep people who conspire to attack the United States.
Of course, any new President should make closing this facility one of her top priorities, maybe just after working to slow the impending threat of climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Which, I guess, raises the question of what we’ll do with all those unused gas stations.
Note: The author is staunchly opposed to the death penalty, and does not advocate its use. Though, he does find some catharsis in imaging a karmic conclusion.