How will Trump Impact our Criminal Justice System?

Prison Bound

Prison Bound: an image by Thomas Hawk

For my blog post I am writing about an article written by Yosha Gunasekera titled What does a Trump presidency mean for criminal justice reform? Yosha begins with saying how in the duration of his presidency, Barack Obama had “pardoned or commuted the sentences of over 1,300 people — many of them behind bars for years or even decades.Draconian drug laws imprisoned men and women, sometimes for life, for committing nonviolent drug offenses.” Many of these people were serving life in prison but Obama made reforms to cut many of these people’s sentences, allowing them to see a life outside of prison. But now that Trump is in office, there is a high chance this won’t be likely.

Is reform likely in the trump age? “The reality of true criminal justice reform appears bleak in the age of Trump.” Gunasekera writes. And unfortunately I think that is something we can all agree on. As we have seen during his campaign Trump has radical and hateful views about things such as immigration and terrorism but during his campaign he didn’t really speak much about his take on Criminal Justice reform. We do know that from times he has spoken about things before such as the Central Park Rape case. He had wanted to put the death Penalty on 5 Black and Latino teens who were imprisoned with hardly any evidence, and later proved innocent.  From his stance on this case we know that he has a thing for tough justice. Trump also endorses the Stop and Frisk method. A method which largely affects “suspicious looking” Black, Latino, and Muslim people.

Tough forms of Criminal Justice will make our already failing criminal justice system worse than it already is. We already have so people, who committed small crimes stuck in jail for long sentences, and when they come out they are often excluded from the normalities of life such as getting jobs, and voting. This creates a constant cycle of them going in and out of prison because life with prison is better than life without it. Though it may be highly unlikely considering the way Trump is, I feel that he should focus more on creating a system where there is a creation of jobs and training for inmates so they can go on with life and try to change when they get out. Trump is very big on “creating jobs for American people” and our prisoners are still our people therefore instead of shunning, and giving them harsh punishment he should help them too.

I agree with Gunasekera that it is more likely than not that there won’t be a change in the criminal justice system under the Trump administration, she does emphasize however that we, as  organizations and individuals should not stop trying to fight for a more fair and equal justice system. If the government can’t fulfill the needs of prisoners and those who are deemed guilty it is our job as the members of American society to speak out for them since their voices have been taken away.

For further reading:

Criminal Injustice,


  1. I really agree with what you said about Trump wanting to create jobs for Americans but excluding former inmates. The negative perception of prisoners is also something to consider in explaining why they aren’t getting jobs and opportunities when they are released. As mentioned in the Washington Post article, referring the the Central Park Five case, Trump “spent a reported $85,000 placing full-page ads in all four major New York daily newspapers”. With this type of image being spread to the public, it “convinces” them that all criminals are like this in terms of race and danger to the community. Trump is only trying to keep this image going to make the public turn against minorities and prisoners to make sure they never get a fair chance at life. I agree that reform in the criminal justice system is not likely during Trump’s presidency because of his views on issues like the Central Park Five.

  2. Maybe the criminal justice system would be more fair if it was more public than private. Like we had seen many prisons are becoming owned by corporations or private investors, and when we acknowledge this, we can understand why people especially black and latino individuals are being incarcerated at such alarming rates, and why they are being kept in it for a life time. Therefore if the criminal justice system is being influenced and run by corporations, soon it will be completely privatized, at the point fairness does not matter but only profit and investments grows.

  3. There could potentially be new drug laws to be created. Which means it could increase the amount of people going to prison. But, there’s also a chance of people’s sentences to be increased, instead of decreasing. There is a chance it could be the other way around. Only time will tell what President Trump plans to do.

  4. I agree with your point that Mr. Trump has a deep radical view on some groups of people such as immigration. He may think they are very easy to getting touch with the criminal. So the prison eventually becomes the place where they ended up. I also like the point that the government should educate them instead of trapping them in the prison forever and take away their rights as human being. I believe the prison should be a place for people to think about their actions for a short run but not a place for them to think life in prison is better. Last, I hope Mr. Trump is creating jobs for those low skill workers or new immigrants a lot more than another group who already has stable lifestyle. because they are the one who truly needs the help from the government.

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