NEW YORK –Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate for December’s Senate special election in Alabama, spearheaded an effort on behalf of a legal group massively funded by billionaire George Soros that sought to fundamentally transform the role of U.S. Attorneys from one of prosecuting criminals to activists that enact a so-called progressive criminal justice agenda.
Among other things, Jones’ project called on federal prosecutors to reduce or avoid sentences for drug offenders, make decisions about seeking jail time on individual cases based upon federal incarceration levels and use their pulpits to “spread change” and work with outside “community organizations” to root out the “causes of violence.”
One section of the report seeks to put U.S. Attorneys in the role of social justice warriors who go to schools to preach against “bullying,” coach Little League teams and mentor at risk youths. All this while working to “develop solutions to problems that do not involve prosecutions, such as mediating disputes and participating in school intervention programs.”
Jones is running against Republican challenger Roy Moore, whose victory in the GOP primary against establishment-backed candidate Luther Strange has been seen nationwide as a stunning electoral victory for Trumpian nationalist policies that promote the working class. Jones was previously appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.
Jones’ Soros-Funded Report
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School is a liberal policy institute that says it “focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice.” It has been the recipient of numerous grants from Soros’s Open Society Foundations totaling over $7,466,000 from 2000 to 2010 alone.
In 2014, the Soros-funded Brennan Center released a 69-page document titled, “Federal Prosecution for the 21st Century,” which was the culmination of a Brennan Center project led by Jones.
The report was specifically based on the results of a Brennon Center initiative co-chaired by Jones calling itself the Blue Ribbon Panel that convened “criminal justice experts, including leaders in law enforcement, prosecutors and public defenders, former government officials, and federal grant recipients, to provide comments on the performance measures” and form the basis of the recommendations in the report.
Jones served as co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel and he also wrote the introduction to the report. His name is listed on the cover of the Brennan document.
The report itself acknowledges the support of Soros’s Open Society Foundations to the Brennon Center’s Justice Program, which sponsored the initiative spearheaded by Jones.
The report was launched at a September 23, 2013 conference keynoted by then-Attorney General Eric Holder and titled, “Shifting Law Enforcement Goals to Reduce Mass Incarceration.” In his opening remarks, Holder singled out Jones for co-chairing the Brennan Center’s Blue Ribbon Panel.
Jones: Federal Prosecutors Can Create ‘Change’
In his introduction, Jones laments that when he and his colleagues on the panel served as prosecutors, “there was an underlying drive to focus almost exclusively on the enforcement of federal laws without engaging in crime prevention.”
“Federal prosecutors have many tools to create this change,” Jones wrote. “They can use their resources to change prosecutorial practices; their bully pulpit and convening power to change hearts and minds; and their leverage in hiring young prosecutors to pick not only the best and the brightest, but also those with a nuanced view of justice.”
Jones used language reminiscent of the Obama administration’s infamous interagency memos that enacted “prosecutorial discretion” – which was widely regarded as de facto amnesty – when it came to bringing charges against young illegal aliens. Jones wrote that the report’s recommendations “encourage prosecutors to keep in mind the larger purposes of the justice system when recommending sentences, choosing what charges to bring and whom to prosecute, and deciding the terms of plea negotiations.”
The report itself goes on to recommend that “given their enormous power and discretion over charging and sentencing decisions, U.S. Attorneys possess a unique lever to spread change.”
The report states: “Prosecutors are well-positioned to create opportunities to improve public safety while also reducing the nation’s incarceration footprint. They are granted unique authority to make charging decisions, enter cooperation agreements, accept pleas and frequently dictate sentences or sentencing ranges.”
Sentence Recommendations Based on Incarceration Rates
When it comes to prosecuting crime, U.S. Attorneys were urged to “change perceptions that longer sentences are always better.”
One radical recommendation entailed having the prosecutor make decisions about an individual case based upon the total number of federal prisoners that originated from the prosecutor’s district:
A second success measure would focus on the number of total federal prisoners that originated from the district overall, and how that number fluctuates over time. This measure allows the district to determine whether it is increasing or decreasing its prison population over time. It also allows a district to discern how it fares against other districts. Notably, the size of the prison population is affected not only by the number of sentences to prison but also by the length of sentences of these prisoners. Therefore, this second measure captures broader information than the first measure.
This second measure can also influence decisions prosecutors make in their cases, encouraging them to reduce charges or recommend whenever appropriate for less (or even no) incarceration time.
Letting Drug Offenders Off the Hook
A key goal of the report was to push reduced sentencing for drug offenders. This has also been a major policy aim for Soros. His Open Society Foundations gave a whopping $50 million to the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which seeks to decriminalize drug offenses. The Alliance’s main aim, according to its website, is to create a world in which people “are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes committed against others.”
The Jones-led report opines that “shifting prosecutorial priorities to include focusing on reducing the numbers of people sent to prisons could have a dramatic impact. Not accepting certain types of drug cases, altering charging decisions or recommending diversion or alternative sentences for drug offenders would reduce the number of drug offenders entering the Federal Bureau of Prisons and are well within a prosecutor’s discretion.”
It recommends considering an “alternative sanction” for drug offenders in lieu of prison. “Rigorous studies have shown that drug treatment programs and close supervision, such as federal probation, can both reduce recidivism rates and costs,” the report added.
Social Justice Warriors
The report presents the case for U.S. Attorneys to work with outside organizations to root out the “causes of violence.”
Many U.S. Attorneys at the Blue Ribbon Panel said, with great force and conviction, that they thought preventing violent crime ought to be a priority for U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. …
These attorneys recognized the need to move from a standard “enforcement” model of prosecuting those who commit violent crimes — such as firearms offenses, high-level narcotics trafficking, gang activity or bombings — to one of trying to reduce or eliminate the causes of violence.
Emphasizing the joint sentiment of other U.S. Attorneys not present at the event, panelists suggested that a new model requires working with community organizations, faith-based organizations, youth groups, those with prior criminal justice contacts and schools to identify and address the issues which drive the problem of violence.
It urged outreach activities, which can include “participating in town hall meetings, partnering with schools, developing relationships with churches and faith-based organizations and engaging with underrepresented populations, such as Native Americans and many urban neighborhoods.”
The report documented that some members of Jones’ Blue Ribbon Panel have instituted “requirements that the attorneys who serve in their office work to improve the community,” including coaching Little League teams.
The report states:
For example, some U.S. Attorneys require prosecutors to participate in community outreach outside of work, such as coaching Little League teams, mentoring at risk youths or speaking at local elementary schools about preventing violence. To quote one former U.S. Attorney at the Blue Ribbon Panel, “I pulled people out and told them that we needed to be involved in our communities and that interacting with the community wasn’t just for social workers.”
Jones’ report hails that some U.S. Attorneys “have changed their attorney Performance Work Plans (which evaluate and set goals for prosecutors) to ask how many community meetings prosecutors have attended to speak about anti-violence initiatives or how many trips they have made to speak to underserved communities.”
The Brennan report hails a project led by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer titled Violence Reduction Partnership, which required “prosecutors to conduct workshops in schools on preventing bullying and protecting against Internet predators.”
The report also pushed a strategy whereby prosecutors go outside the preview of the U.S. judicial system to monitor disputes within the framework of working locally within the community.
The report advocates a strategy that “often entails opening up a neighborhood prosecutor’s office in a storefront.”
“Prosecutors speak with neighborhood residents to better understand their concerns regarding crime. They use that information to choose which crimes to prosecute and which charges to bring. They also develop solutions to problems that do not involve prosecutions, such as mediating disputes and participating in school intervention programs.”
To push its agenda, the Brennan Center recommended that the Obama administration enact “Success Oriented Funding,” which “ties government funding as tightly as possible to clear priorities that drive toward the twin goals of reducing crime and reducing mass incarceration.” In other words, more funding would seemingly be granted to jurisdictions that enact shorter sentences for offenders.
Jones Has Deeper Ties to Soros Group
Besides his work heading Brennan’s panel on reforming the role of U.S. Attorneys, Jones is also a member of a group formed in 2015 by the Soros-funded Brennan Center calling itself Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration. The group says it aims to push “reforms to reduce incarceration and strengthen public safety.”
Jones participated in a Brennan conference titled, “Shifting law enforcement goals to reduce mass incarceration.”
On his 2017 Senatorial campaign website, Jones pushes a living wage plan for the state and country that, as Breitbart News reported last week, has a history of hurting small businesses, negatively impacting local economies and decreasing employment opportunities for low income workers. The brief economic policy listing on Jones’ campaign website calls for the enactment of a “living wage,” which would hike the minimum wage above the federal minimum.
The Brennan Center played a leading role in helping to craft living wage ordinances and ballot measures for numerous cities and states.
The living wage was originally a project of the controversial former group known as ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which played a central role in enacting the scheme in several cities.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Written with additional research by Joshua Klein.