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Trump Should Hurt Sessions by Helping Drug Offenders: New at Reason

Commutations for people serving absurdly long sentences would be a great new way to torture the attorney general.

CAN-DO FoundationCAN-DO FoundationWhile it may be months or years before the results of Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un are clear, his meeting with the other Kim was an unqualified success. Last week, thanks to the reality TV star Kim Kardashian West's intercession on her behalf, Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother serving a life sentence for nonviolent drug offenses, walked free from a federal prison in Alabama after spending almost 22 years behind bars.

Critics of our excessively punitive criminal justice system, while pleasantly surprised by Trump's commutation of Johnson's sentence, do not hold out much hope that it marks a shift in attitude for a president who was elected on a "law and order" platform modeled after Richard Nixon's. But Jacob Sullum thinks there may be a way, short of finding a celebrity to adopt every federal prisoner who deserves similar relief, to encourage the president to use his clemency powers for good: by emphasizing how much it would upset Jeff Sessions.

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