Speed Reads

criminal justice reform

Cory Booker thinks violent criminals are 'worthy of redemption'

Much of the talk surrounding prison reform in recent years has focused on lessening consequences for "nonviolent offenders," primarily in response to the war on drugs that has put many in prison under mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he's involved with bipartisan talks in the Senate on reforming mass incarceration, but pointed out his long-held belief Friday in an interview with Slate that it's not enough to only worry about nonviolent offenders.

"Well, the reality is that we really need to start expanding our view of who we will ascribe opportunities for redemption to," Booker said. "Not just to these so-called nonviolent prisoners, but all prisoners who are worthy of redemption."

Booker also argued the line between violent and nonviolent offenses is murkier than most people think. For example, accomplices to crimes are often considered violent, even if the violence was not their doing. He told Slate this idea hasn't gotten much traction with other legislators.

"There's a profound, glaring injustice that's a significant part of our society that needs to be addressed," he said.