A few short months after Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Atlantic cover story “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” Congress is working to solve the problem of excessive jail time for non-violent drug offenses. The push for criminal justice reform could deliver President Obama with a legacy accomplishment in his final year in office. With support from across the political spectrum, reform bills have been introduced in both houses of Congress to reduce prison terms and mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses. One usual foe of the President has been leading the effort — Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, the Chairman of the House Judiciary committee. On the verge of President Obama’s final State of the Union address, Representative Goodlatte joined The Atlantic’s Washington Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons in an Atlantic Exchange to discuss the effort for bipartisan criminal justice reform.
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