, 14 tweets, 5 min read
Um… so. I’m just starting to look at Warren’s plan, but want to highlight this.

She doesn’t use the acronym, but she calls for repealing AEDPA. That’s… that’s really good.
She also says she’ll “repeal” the 1994 Crime Bill, which is literally impossible to do, so it’s going to be hit or miss, but the AEDPA part is a big hit.
Though after getting into the weed with AEDPA, a little sad she didn’t also jump into the weeds with the PLRA.

Improving BOP conditions is great, and something POTUS can do. Attacking the PLRA would improve things in the (vaster) state systems.
I really appreciate this open acknowledgement of the challenge federalism poses. Most plans seem intentionally blurry on this front, and Warren acknowledges it several times.

That said, an important limitation to keep in mind:
Fed grants are a REALLY small fraction of state and local crim justice spending, in a way that is hard to overcome.

The DOJ’s TOTAL budget, for everything, is about $28B. State and local govts spend $200B on crim justice alone.

Fed grants are… small.

Now, that said:
I DO think that Fed grants can matter (a change in past views I’ve held). I just think they need to be targeted at areas where states spend very little:

And Warren has at least one example of that (like Sanders): indigent defense.
Now, to be fair, like Sanders, Warren is vague here—actually more vague, since Sanders at least had a number.

And not sure it’s as easy as “increase funding.” States differ in how services are provided (state level vs county), who provides them (pub def vs. appointed), etc.
And obv I appreciate the focus on prosecutors (esp since at the Fed level this is something Warren could do with little Congressional involvement), tho there’s little about the locals here.

And this is… pretty generic. HOW do you “rein in the worst abuses”? It’s not that easy.
This is particularly because the “worst abuse” likely isn’t malfeasance (which can be policed, maybe), but excessive-yet-legal-and-ethically-ok severity, which seems a LOT harder for main DOJ to police.

So… still the “what does this mean” problem.
For FED crim justice, appointing more defenders to the bench will make things better. Obv the real action is in the states, where POTUS has little-to-no control, but perhaps emphasizing the need for defense-bar diversity will trickle down to state campaigns/appointments.
My two biggest (if unsurprising) disappointments:

1. No mention, at least directly, of violence. She talks of repealing Fed truth-in-sentencing laws, at at the state level those usually apply (just) to violent crimes.

But no direct talk of changing our approach to violence.
And, as always:

2. An attack on private prisons, with no parallel mention of the need to target the far more powerful public sector side.

Which, as I’ve suggested, IS something that the Feds could do at the state/local level: vox.com/the-big-idea/2…
Overall, I guess, I waffle a bit.

That AEDPA piece is huge (tho the likelihood that McConnell would ever let that thru strikes me as low). It shows a seriousness about the wonky things that matter.

The rest, though, is a lot like Sanders’: IDs the problems, but fuzzy on fixes.
Correction: I missed this piece. Focusing on things like Cure Violence is good, and I’m glad to see that.

Still missing is the other half of the puzzle, namely changing the conventional approaches to how we punish violence. That’s the tougher part.

But still: this is good.
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