TIME justice

Former Prisoners Applaud Program to Help Inmates Go to College

Alphonso Coates college prison education partnership
Patrick Semansky—AP Inmate Alphonso Coats, a participant in the Goucher College Prison Education Partnership, sits in a discussion with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other officials inside the Maryland Correctional Institution-Jessup on July 31, 2015, in Jessup, Md.

Glenn Martin knows exactly the kind of difference getting an education can make for a person behind bars. When Martin was 23, he was sentenced to six years in prison for robbery. That time, he told TIME on Friday, was arguably the lowest point in his life.

But a meeting he had with a correction’s officer during his early days behind bars in state prison in New York changed his life. After reviewing his file, the officer suggested that he consider advancing his education and enrolling in college courses.

“That was the first time anyone had ever said to me ‘you should go to college,’” Martin says. “I grew up in [the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn]. I distinctly remember people saying the opposite to me.”

While in prison, Martin was able to earn his associate’s degree through a prison education program called the Consortium of the Niagara Frontier, one of New York’s oldest post-secondary correctional education programs. It was in that program that Martin says he was able to consider all of the possibilities that lie ahead of him in life.

“I started to think of myself differently,” Martin says. “I saw hope beyond being in that prison for six years.”

Now, at 43, Martin serves as the president of Just Leadership USA, an organization aimed at significantly reducing the incarceration rate nationwide by 2030. And it was in that role that Martin was invited to attend an event at a prison in Maryland on Friday, where he participated in a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Education.

As TIME reported earlier this week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan traveled to the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup to announce that the administration would temporarily grant incarcerated individuals access to federal aid that can help them pay for college. The experimental initiative reverses a 1994 law that blocked state and federal prisoners’ access to Pell Grants which critics say hurt their chances to start over.

The research on the topic of institutional education is clear: according to a 2013 study by the RAND Corporation funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, prisoners who took educational courses behind bars were 43% less likely to return to prison in three years than those who did not. With about 1.5 million Americans behind bars, changing the Pell Grant system could have a major effect.

“America is a nation of second chances. Giving people who have made mistakes in their lives a chance to get back on track and become contributing members of society is fundamental to who we are,” Duncan said in a statement.

Through the pilot program, prisoners who are eligible for release within the next five years and otherwise meet the requirements for federal aid could have access to grants to pay for tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Though the program is limited to Pell Grants and does not apply to any other type of aid, those who work in education are hopeful.

Vivian Nixon, the executive director of the College and Community Fellowship an organization that helps formerly incarcerated women get an education, didn’t have a chance to get an education while she was behind bars. When she was in her mid-thirties, Nixon was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for a series of white-collar crimes.

The possibility of being able to further her education while incarcerated gave Nixon hope, but those dreams were dashed when she was transferred to a prison that didn’t offer any post-secondary education courses. After suffering bouts of hopelessness and depression, Nixon started tutoring other women working toward their GED behind bars. Over the past decade and a half, she’s made it her mission to get the federal government to make it easier for prisoners to get an education.

“Education is transformative,” Nixon says. “When people are educated it opens up a whole set of different choices and without the kind of knowledge or confidence that education brings you can easily slip back into the old habits that landed you in prison.”

For Nixon and Martin, who collaborated to form the Education from the Inside Out Coaltion, an organization that aims to increase educational opportunities for prisoners, Friday was a special day. Both of them saw their handwork come to fruition firsthand.

“For [decades] we’ve dealt with this issue in ways that make for good politics, but bad policy,” Martin said. “This is an opportunity to undo some of that.”

TIME justice

Report Says St. Louis Court Treats Blacks Unfairly

gavel-sounder
Getty Images

Ferguson, where the fatal shooting of Michael Brown took place last year, is a St. Louis County town

ST. LOUIS — The U.S. Department of Justice has released a report critical of the St. Louis County Family Court, alleging that black youths are treated more harshly than whites, and juveniles are often deprived of constitutional rights.

The investigation was initiated in 2013, addressing issues that drew increased scrutiny last year after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, by a white police officer in Ferguson, a St. Louis County town. The new report was issued just over a week before the anniversary of Brown’s death, Aug. 9.

Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta calls the findings “serious and compelling.”

The report says the Justice Department could pursue litigation but will seek mutual agreement to resolve violations. Messages seeking comment from St. Louis County officials were not immediately returned.

TIME New York

New York Man Arrested for Attempting to Join ISIS

Arafat Nagi showed active intention of joining the Islamic State group

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Authorities in western New York say they’ve arrested a 44-year-old man on a charge of attempting to support the Islamic State group.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul said at a news conference Wednesday morning in Buffalo that authorities were tipped off by a resident who heard Arafat Nagi talking about his jihadi beliefs.

Nagi is due in court later Wednesday to face a charge of attempting to support a terrorist organization. Authorities say his social media posts and travel records were checked out as part of the investigation.

Hochul says Nagi traveled twice to Turkey within the past three years with the intention of joining the Islamic State group. He says Nagi purchased military combat gear, including night-vision goggles.

Police executed a search warrant Wednesday morning at Nagi’s home in the city of Lackawanna.

TIME People

Penn. Congressman Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case

Chaka Fattah
Matt Rourke—AP In this May 7, 2015 photo, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks at the School of the Future in Philadelphia.

Fattah has been the subject of a long-running federal investigation

(PHILADELPHIA) — Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah has been indicted on charges he misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds.

The 11-term Philadelphia Democrat was charged Wednesday with racketeering conspiracy, bribery, conspiracy to commit wire, honest services and mail fraud, and other charges.

Fattah has been the subject of a long-running federal investigation. Four others also have been charged, including people who worked for his campaign and congressional staffs.

Fattah’s office had no immediate comment on the charges. It said it would issue a statement shortly.

TIME justice

Bill Cosby To Be Deposed By End of September, Says Attorney

He'll have to testify under oath about a molestation allegation

Bill Cosby will have to testify under oath about an old sexual assault allegation by Sept. 30, according to attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 17 of Cosby’s more than 40 accusers.

Allred said Tuesday that by the end of the week a judge will set an exact date for the comedian to be deposed in the case of Judy Huth, who claims Cosby molested her when she was 15. The statute of limitations has expired for a criminal case in the matter, but a 1990 California law allows allegations of sexual assault on minors to become civil suits years later, USA Today reports.

Now 55, Huth alleges that Cosby “took her hand in his and performed a sex act on himself without her consent” after taking her to the Playboy Mansion. A December 2014 court filing says Huth and a 16-year-old friend she was with told Cosby how old they were.

“We are very pleased that the case is now moving forward whether Mr. Cosby likes it or not,” Allred said in a statement. “Mr. Cosby may be praying for divine intervention to halt his deposition, but he will soon have to give his testimony in Ms. Huth’s case, and we are looking forward to that day.”

Read next: Why the New Case Against Bill Cosby Is Different

 

TIME National Security

Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard Will Be Released in November

Pollard was sentenced to 30 years in prison for spying for Israel

(WASHINGTON) — Jonathan Pollard, a former Naval intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel and passing along a trove of classified documents, has been granted parole and will be released from prison in November after nearly 30 years, his lawyers said Tuesday.

The decision to free Pollard caps an extraordinary espionage case that stoked public passions. Critics condemned the American as a traitor who betrayed his country for money. Supporters argued that he was punished excessively given that he spied for a U.S. ally.

The politically charged matter also surfaced last year during Middle East negotiations and has spurred decades of legal wrangling and periodic efforts to win his release.

Pollard, 60, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, two years after he was caught trying to gain asylum in the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Under federal sentencing rules in place at the time, he became eligible for parole in November, the 30th anniversary of his arrest. A three-member panel of the U.S. Parole Commission unanimously voted to grant him parole, effective Nov. 21, according to a statement from his attorneys, and the Justice Department did not raise objections to his release.

“We are grateful and delighted that our client will be released soon,” said a statement from the lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman.

They said the decision to grant him parole, which followed a July 7 hearing, was “not connected to recent developments in the Middle East” — an apparent reference to a recent nuclear deal that the U.S. struck with Iran and that Israel had bitterly opposed.

White House and other officials have denied that Pollard’s planned release is in any way tied to the Iran nuclear deal. And Israeli officials have said while they would welcome Pollard’s release, it would not ease their opposition to the Iran agreement.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who testified before Congress on the deal on Tuesday, told reporters Pollard’sparole was “not at all” related to the nuclear deal.

The U.S. had previously dangled his release, including during Israel-Palestinian talks last year, when the Obama administration considered the possibility of releasing Pollard early as part of a package of incentives to keep Israel at the negotiating table. As it turned out, the peace effort collapsed despite the Pollard release offer and nothing came of the proposal.

Pollard, 60, has battled health problems in recent years and is being held in the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Had he been denied parole, his lawyers said, Pollard would have been required to serve an additional 15 years in prison. But the Justice Department earlier this month signaled that it would not oppose Pollard’s parole bid.

The attorneys said Pollard was “looking forward to being reunited with his beloved wife Esther.”

The U.S. says Pollard provided reams of sensitive and classified information to Israel, including about radar-jamming techniques and the electronic capabilities of nations hostile to Israel, including Saudi Arabia.

A court statement from then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said Pollard did “irrevocable” damage to the U.S. and had provided the Israelis with more than 800 U.S. classified publications and more than 1,000 classified messages and cables. Portions of the Weinberger document that have been declassified state in part that Pollardadmitted passing to his Israeli contacts “an incredibly large quantity of classified documents” and that U.S. troops could be endangered because of the theft.

“He took an oath to support the constitution of the United States, and he failed it,” said M.E. “Spike” Bowman, the director of Naval Intelligence at the time of Pollard’s arrest. “The fact that he gave it to an ally, that makes absolutely no difference to me. I’m glad that it was an ally rather than the Russians, but what he did makes absolutely no difference.”

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Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.

TIME justice

Obama Administration Could Expand Pell Grant Eligibility to Prisoners

Arne Duncan Obama prisoners pell grants
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with President Obama at the White House, in March 2015.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan hinted recently that administration is “developing experimental sites” that would make Pell Grants available to prisoners

The Obama administration could soon unveil a plan that would make federal college grants available to prisoners.

On Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hinted during a policy speech that the administration is “developing experimental sites” that would, among other things, make Pell Grants available to “incarcerated adults seeking an independent, productive life after they get out of jail.”

The Wall Street Journal reports the announcement could come as soon as Friday, when Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are slated to make a joint appearance at a prison in Maryland on Friday.

The move would be the latest attempt by the Obama administration to provide opportunities to prisoners that could help reduce the national recidivism rate. According to Inside Higher Ed, six House Democrats introduced a bill in May that would expand Pell Grant eligibility to those behind bars. Congress blocked prisoners from Pell Grant eligibility in the 1990s.

TIME justice

Sandra Bland’s Death Draws Attention to Jail Suicides

Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails after natural illness

(DALLAS) — When Sandra Bland died in a small Texas jail last week, she became just the latest name on a long list of inmates whose deaths were determined to be suicides.

Bland’s death following her arrest for a minor traffic violation added fresh fuel to the national debate over police use of force on blacks. It also focused new attention on the longstanding problem of inmates who take their own lives.

The traffic stop “is one issue and that will be dealt with,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said earlier this week. “But she lost her life in the jail. And that’s what we have to look at.” If the correct procedures had been in place, “maybe she would be alive today.”

Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails after natural illness. In fact, inmates take their own lives three times more often than the average population, according to a 2010 study cited in the National Study of Jail Suicide.

Since 2000, the total number of jail suicides has remained fairly constant — around 300 a year, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Improved awareness and monitoring have helped make suicides far less common than in the 1980s or 1990s.

“You talk to any sheriff 20 years ago and they would say suicides are not preventable,” said Lindsay Hayes, author of the national study. “Today, more often than not, a sheriff is going to be much more proactive or better-read about that issue.”

Statistically, white male inmates are most likely to die by their own hand, both nationally and in Texas. Women make up just a fraction of total jail suicides, and Bland was the only black woman found to have killed herself in a Texas jail since 2009.

The heightened risk of suicide behind bars results from various factors, including those that arise from the jail environment itself.

“Suicides are often spontaneous and notoriously difficult to forecast,” said a 2013 article on Texas jail suicides in the LBJ Journal of Public Affairs published by the University of Texas. “Some stressors may come from the jail environment itself where isolation, loss of control, conflict with other inmates or staff, frustration with legal proceedings, or distress and shame over incarceration may flare suicidal tendencies.”

State law requires all county jails to use one of two “objective jail classification” forms to determine an inmate’s suicide risk and whether enhanced security measures are needed, said Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

It’s then up to each jail to determine how inmates are monitored, he said, noting that state law requires only that a county inmate be observed in-person by jailers at least once every hour. An inmate who may be suicidal or who displays bizarre behavior must be checked every 30 minutes.

A doctor’s order takes priority, Wood added, so jailers must comply if there’s a medical order to monitor an inmate more frequently.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith has said Bland was not on suicide watch and was supposed to be observed once every hour. But he also acknowledged that jailers at least once violated state rules by interacting with her via intercom and not in-person.

The intercom conversation, during which Bland asked how to make an outgoing call using a phone in her cell, came about an hour before her body was found July 13 hanging from a noose fashioned from a plastic garbage-can liner.

Two jailers who assessed Bland when she was being booked in the county jail were “adamant” that she appeared fine, the sheriff said.

Bland’s relatives have refused to accept authorities’ finding that she took her own life. Her death remains under investigation, as does the traffic stop that led to her arrest and detention three days earlier.

Authorities announced Thursday that an autopsy revealed no injuries that would suggest she was killed by someone else.

When the 28-year-old Chicago-area woman was booked into the county jail on July 10, records show, she reported having attempted suicide after a failed pregnancy. Her sister said the miscarriage happened in 2014. Other booking papers indicated Bland did not have suicidal thoughts at the time of her arrest.

The commission cited the jail last week for violating standards on staff training and observation of inmates, and the sheriff said he was forming a task force to review jail procedures.

Nationally, about 33 percent of all inmate deaths resulted from suicide from 2010 through 2012, compared with 29 percent for the same time period in Texas.

Women have been responsible for just 14 of the 140 inmate suicides in Texas since September 2009, when the jail commission began tracking deaths, according to data released to The Associated Press immediately after Bland died.

With jails becoming the largest providers of mental health treatment in many communities, they need more resources and better standards to keep up with increasing demand, said Michele Deitch, a University of Texas law school lecturer.

Many people who are arrested are already suffering from mental illness, trauma or addiction, Deitch said.

“All of those factors combined with the trauma of suddenly being in jail — the realization of the enormity of what has just happened to them — all of those things can be combined to make them particularly vulnerable in that setting.”

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Associated Press Writer David Warren contributed to this report.

TIME society

‘Insight Policing’ Could Have Helped Sandra Bland

It helps officers recognize and defuse conflict behavior when they see it

The disturbing video released earlier this week of the stop and arrest of Sandra Bland highlights once again the excessive and inexcusable use of force by police officers in this country. The 28-year-old’s death in police custody after a routine traffic stop is currently being investigated as a murder.

Both ordinary citizens and experts have been calling for police departments to ramp up efforts to stop these kinds of abuses, but tragically, they continue.

Why they continue is perplexing and complicated – from history and power to the role of implicit bias. But one answer, as a Memphis cop put it to me in an interview for the Retaliatory Violence Insight Project, is what police officers call the “tricky part”: maintaining trust with citizens while enforcing the law.

The tricky part

Part of what is tricky, I found talking with police officers, is that traditional policing practice uses deterrence methods – force and the threat of punishment – to motivate compliance.

Most of us are familiar with these methods. Perhaps we have gotten a speeding ticket, or been subject to stop and frisk. The principle is the same – obey the law or face consequences.

Deterrence policies may stop crime in some cases, but they are counter to most people’s conception of trust, which depends on the belief that another person will not cause harm.

Because of this trust deficit, deterrence methods can fail to produce compliance; and instead, produce conflict between the public and the police. Just watch Sandra Bland’s arrest video, or the public reaction to the high-force police response during last year’s Ferguson protests.

Research from the Retaliatory Violence Insight Project into the challenges police departments face curtailing retaliatory violence in high crime communities has produced an alternative: Insight Policing.

Insight Policing is a community-oriented, problem-solving policing practice designed to help officers take control of situations with the public before conflict escalates. By doing so, the police maintain trust and enhance the probability of cooperation in difficult situations of enforcement.

The role of Insight Policing

Insight Policing helps officers recognize and defuse conflict behavior when they see it – both their own and the public’s. Often, conflict behavior resembles such stress-based behaviors as fight, flight and freeze; these are the actions people take when they feel threatened.

The thing about conflict behavior, and what Insight Policing pays particular attention to, is that when we feel threatened, we are reactive, not reflective, in how we respond. We do not take time to think about what we are doing, we simply do, in hopes that we will successfully stop the threat.

Sandra Bland refused to get out of her car (conflict behavor), responding to the threat the officer posed when he ordered her to. The officer pulled a taser on Bland (conflict behavior) in response to the threat her refusal posed to him as an agent of the law.

While clearly there are more dramatic instances of conflict behavior in police–citizen encounters – the high speed chase, the standoff – the more mundane conflict interactions are what are undermining police legitimacy.

When conflict behavior manifests as noncompliance, when citizens refuse to cooperate, as was the case with Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and most recently Sandra Bland, what begins as mundane can become lethal when conflict behavior escalates.

Insight Policing, which has been piloted in two American police departments, Memphis, Tennessee, and Lowell, Massachusetts, is a promising tool for helping officers get a handle on the “tricky part.” Eighty percent of officers trained agreed that Insight Policing enhanced their ability to defuse the feelings of threat citizens have about their encounters with police officers.

An example of Insight Policing

Take an example from Memphis. Three Memphis officers trained in Insight Policing responded to a call for shots fired. They arrived on the scene to find a crowd of young men behind a house. They asked them the kinds of questions they always ask at the scene of a crime: “What happened?” “What did you see?” “Who did this?” The young men refused to cooperate: “We didn’t see anything.” “Leave us alone.” “We don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The officers suspected otherwise. And ordinarily, they reported, they would have arrested the young men on gang-related charges and questioned them down at the station – to delay any retaliation that might have been brewing as well as to get the information they were after. Instead, having been trained in Insight Policing, they recognized the young men’s resistance as conflict behavior. They dropped, for the moment, their crime investigator hats, and put on their conflict investigator hats. They used Insight Policing techniques to become curious about what was motivating the young men’s resistance.

What the officers found was not that the young men were protecting somebody or hiding something or breaking the law in some way, but that they had had trouble with police in the past. They did not want to speak because they were afraid of incriminating themselves.

Getting this information allowed the officers to delink the threat they posed by assuring the young men that they were not after them, they were after the shooter. They were able to build enough trust in the moment that the young men gave them the information they needed to catch the shooter later that night.

Had the officers used their power to arrest the young men, just for hanging out together, they would have played into the young men’s fear of incrimination. They would have escalated a situation, and who knows how it would have turned out.

By engaging the men in terms of their conflict behavior, the officers were able to build trust, garner cooperation and effectively enforce the law.

What if the officers who stopped Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray and Mike Brown and Eric Garner had been trained to recognize conflict behavior and defuse it? Perhaps history would be different.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME justice

Can Congress Pass Criminal Justice Reform?

US Capitol Building Washington DC
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images The US Capitol seen on Feb. 11, 2015 in Washington.

Bipartisan negotiators are working on bills to fix sentencing guidelines and reform the prison system

There’s a growing bipartisan consensus around criminal justice reform, but it’s not yet clear if that will be enough to get a bill through Congress.

Supporters of reform got several hopeful signs last week. Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders, then made the first-ever Presidential visit to a federal prison. Former President Bill Clinton chimed in to apologize for signing a crime bill that further clotted the U.S. prison system. And House Speaker John Boehner signaled his support for a vote in the House. “We’ve got a lot of people in prison, frankly, who really in my view don’t need to be there,” the Ohio Republican said.

The rare burst of harmony reflects months of work by lawmakers and the wide-ranging coalition of advocacy groups that have joined forces in a bid to fix the flaws of the U.S. justice system, which critics from both parties call bloated, costly and rigid.

“This was unthinkable six months ago,” says Van Jones, a former Obama administration official and co-founder of #cut50, a bipartisan initiative to slash the U.S. prison population in half. Predicts Jones: “A series of bills will be on this President’s desk and signed into law by Christmas.”

But change never comes easy in Washington. And the powerful array of interests aligned behind reform have so far struggled to translate broad support into legislative success.

That could soon change. The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing to unveil a bipartisan package of reforms that negotiators have been haggling over since March. The proposal is expected to include sentencing reforms as well as so-called “back-end” efforts to rehabilitate prisoners and more effectively reintegrate them into society.

“There are still a handful of issues left to work through,” says Beth Levine, a spokeswoman for Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican who chairs the committee. “The members are still working and committed to trying to reach an agreement that can gain wide bipartisan support.”

One of the challenges is getting powerful personalities with competing priorities onto the same page.

Grassley is a case in point. His participation in the process reflects the dramatic evolution of the politics of criminal justice. The 81-year-old Iowan is a tough-on-crime Republican who has long opposed reforms like easing mandatory minimum sentences. He’s signaled openness to reform, but as the chair of a crucial Congressional committee, he has the ability to block any bill that comes through.

The situation is similar in the House, where the Judiciary Chairman, Bob Goodlatte, is another conservative steeped in the tough-on-crime mantras that reigned in the 1980s and ’90s. Criminal-justice reform “is something that Congress needs to undertake,” Goodlatte said Wednesday, addressing a bipartisan audience at a justice-reform conference on a rooftop with views of the Capitol. The Virginia Republican indicated he wants to tackle issues like over-criminalization and prisoner re-entry. But he did not sugarcoat the complications of producing legislation.

It’s also not clear which chamber will move first. A raft of narrow bipartisan bills have been introduced in the Senate, including a measure to address mandatory minimums introduced by Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin and Utah Republican Mike Lee, and a bill crafted by Texas Republican John Cornyn and Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse that addresses prisoner re-entry. The House may coalesce around a single ambitious bill, authored by Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner and Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott.

As a result, the unanimity on display now could ultimately be derailed by the clutch of bills, competing goals and bureaucratic hurdles that often combine to stifle progress in a divided Congress. “Different members all want to assert their priorities,” says a source familiar with the negotiations.

Negotiators suggested a Senate package could be unveiled as soon as this week, but it now looks likely to wait until after the summer legislative recess. “Everyone is working in good faith, and it will be ready when it’s ready,” says a Democratic Senate aide familiar with the negotiations. “The more comprehensive our negotiations are now, the easier it will be to move the bill swiftly in committee and on the floor.”

But even members committed to advancing justice reform are clear-eyed about the looming obstacles. “It’s an uphill battle,” Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate who is part of the push for justice reform, said Wednesday. “Nothing happens easy in this town.”

Paul cited civil-asset forfeiture reforms and potentially legislation around the use of body cameras by police as two areas where the Senate could make progress. But he predicted the efforts in the House were more likely to bear fruit. “I think they’re more open to reform than the Senate is,” Paul said. “That’s just my opinion.”

Legislators say they’re encouraged by the breadth of agreement. And they know that justice reform is one of the last subjects they’re capable of tackling before the capital is consumed by the presidential race.

“Everybody is aligned,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said at a hearing last week. “The House, the Senate, the President. Let’s make it happen.”

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