“Justice demands this result.” That’s what Ketanji Brown Jackson said in 2011 after the U.S. Sentencing Commission knocked as much as three years off the prison terms of crack-cocaine convicts. As vice chair of the commission, Jackson believed the nation’s drug laws were overly harsh and especially “unfair” to blacks.
A month earlier, Jackson had shrugged off Justice Department warnings that the decision—which made more than 12,000 federal crack inmates eligible for early release—could flood the streets with dangerous criminals who would likely reoffend.
“[B]y keeping them in longer, it doesn’t seem to make a difference with regard to whether or not they recidivate,” Jackson reasoned in a June 2011 commission hearing in Washington, according to transcripts reviewed by RealClearInvestigations.
Then-U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose objected: “It does protect the safety of the public, though, when they’re not present to recidivate.”
Her treatment of child pornographers is troubling to observers who worry about high recidivism rates among offenders as the amount of child porn on the Internet explodes. They say her record endangered children.
“We need more deterrence, not less,” said Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project, a Washington advocacy group for constitutional judges and the rule of law. “Yet Judge Jackson has gone out of her way as a law student, lawyer, commissioner and judge to advocate for more leniency for people who possess and distribute child porn.”
Added Davis: “She’s been on a 25-year crusade to coddle them.”
A 2003 Justice Department study found that 43 percent of sex offenders, including child pornographers and child molesters, were rearrested for the same or other crimes after release from custody. Three-fourths of the rearrests involved felonies.
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