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State of the Bay

City Visions: The federal crime bill - a win for reformers or not?


We continue our examination of criminal justice in the Bay Area, this time with a discussion of the federal crime bill, The First Step Act, which was signed by President Trump in December. 

The first "prisoner release" as a consequence of The First Step Act occurred this past Friday. Championing the bill was the Oakland-based organization #Cut50, whose goal is to reduce the United States' prison population by 50%.


Is the bill a win for criminal justice reform or a relatively minor gesture?  Why hasn't the bill gotten more support from other reformers? How has #Cut50 cultivated the support of President Trump, Kim Kardashian, and the political right, and what are they hoping to achieve next with this high-profile support?


Producer: Wendy Holcombe


Erin Haney, National Policy Director of #Cut50; former Deputy Public Defender in San Francisco.

Tony Platt, Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at U.C. Berkeley's Center for the Study of Law & Society, and author of Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States (St. Martin's Press, January 2019).