Reference Shelf: National Debate Topic, 2020-2021: Criminal Justice Reform

ISBN: 978-1-64265-602-2
172 pages
Pub. Date: June 2020
Price: $75.00

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This year’s debate topic will focus on the issue of criminal justice reform. Central points include sentencing issues—mandatory minimums, truth in sentencing laws, and racial disparities; policing reform, including the role of police vs. social workers and health care workers as well as police brutality; reducing overcriminalization, particularly of drug possession; the War on Drugs as a cause of mass incarceration; a focus on rehabilitation vs. punishment in prisons; and juvenile justice reform. Significant recent developments include the 2019 First Step Act, which allows thousands of federal inmates to earn early release from prison, makes the reforms enacted by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive, and eases mandatory minimum requirements. Opponents of reform argue that measures such as these could result in violent criminals being released and recidivism.