October 17, 2019 Feature

Sua Sponte, A Judge Comments: Prosecutors and Voters Are Becoming Smart on Crime

A federal judge looks at the issue on the federal level.

Hon. Avern Cohn

Download a printable PDF of this article. (Sua Sponte starts on page 6 of the PDF.)

Barbara McQuade and Sally Q. Yates, both senior federal prosecutors in the Obama administration, focus their attention on three goals in our criminal justice system:

  • budgeting less money for sending people to jail
  • using tax money for drug prosecutions and treatment programs
  • reducing the number of people we send to prison

They find encouragement in achieving these goals in changes in voters’ and local and state prosecutors’ attitudes. And although McQuade and Yates find some hope in these changes, we cannot rely on reform at the state level alone. Reform is required at the federal level as well. My familiarity is with the federal criminal justice system. It extends almost 40 years.

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