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Eric TirschwellEric Tirschwell (NYLJ/Rick Kopstein)

What a difference six months makes. Earlier this year, it was widely reported that Congress was closer than ever to passing significant federal criminal sentencing reform on a wide bipartisan basis. Now, following the election of Donald Trump and the nomination of a vocal opponent of these reforms—Sen. Jeff Sessions—as Attorney General, optimism among proponents of criminal justice reform has been dramatically diminished, if not extinguished altogether. While some hold out the hope that conservative supporters of such reform (such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and maybe even Vice President-elect Mike Pence) may be able to bring a Trump administration around, most agree that at best criminal justice reform will be a low priority in the Executive Branch come January 20—even as overall national crime rates remain near historic lows.

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