, 6 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
1. A quick thought on Manafort, Chelsea Manning, anchoring, and the challenges facing substantial criminal justice reform.

When Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, all the criticisms were the same: she only served one-third of her sentence, and that was wrong.

2. I didn’t see anyone complain that 7 years was too short ON ITS OWN MERITS. It was too short because it was only 1/3 of the original 21 years.

Had the judge sentenced her to 8 and Obama commuted at 7, I bet the outrage would have been a lot less.

Still 7 years tho.
3. That 21 yrs anchored us, and it was a fairly arbitrary anchor derived from the policy prefs of the charging AUSA, the judge, and generic guidelines written decades ago.

But we latched onto that sentence. It was the (pretty arbitrary and policywise-unneeded) baseline.
4. This is, of course, exactly what is happening w Manafort. We’ve anchored onto unnecessarily long and quite dehumanizing sentences and, without necessarily even realizing it, deeply internalized them as right.

Manafort’s is outlier, when it shd be seen as more the baseline.
5. This is a real challenge for reforms going forward. As hated as it is by many, the severity of the current system has wormed its way into our hearts and minds as the presumptive baseline (and there’s social psych data on how non-consciously anchoring can happen).
6. This is why I am relentless today about the Manafort sentence. It’s not like I’m stanning for a man who profited off destabilizing entire regions of Eastern Europe.

It’s just that it essential to call out, and push back against, these powerful bipartisan anchors.
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