The Atlantic

Trump’s Evangelical Advisers Could Help Him Secure a Win on Sentencing Reform

Conservative Christian leaders are a major force behind criminal-justice legislation being considered in the Senate. But black and progressive clergy see danger in allying with the president, even on this issue.
Source: Alex Brandon

Long-stalled legislation on sentencing reform may squeeze through Congress in the last few weeks of this session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that the Senate will take up the FIRST STEP Act, which would create some flexibility around sentencing and release for certain inmates held in federal prisons. President Donald Trump has been a major backer of the bill—“Go for it Mitch!” he tweeted on Friday. Successful legislation would be a major bipartisan victory for the White House.

Along the way, one group in particular has been pushing for passage of these reforms: Trump’s circle of evangelical advisers, who helped inspire the bill. White, conservative Christian leaders are now in a position to help deliver a bipartisan compromise that could soften thousands of people’s sentences, largely those for drug-related offenses. Their African American and liberal counterparts, meanwhile, have felt conflicted about collaborating with the administration, even on a topic they care

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