In the upcoming Trump administration, the high number of criminal pardons seen in the Obama administration are unlikely to continue. President Obama’s administration was the first since Lyndon B. Johnson to leave office with fewer inmates in federal prisons than when he took office. While Trump has not stated which policies he will continue regarding the clemency policy and mandatory minimums, he has made his opposition against Obama’s liberal policies clear. He and his supposed nominee for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, both are in favor of strong enforcement of drug laws, despite the racial disproportionately.
The Obama administration sees the racial inequality in mandatory minimums in the federal courts and jails. And they have fought to commute sentences of those whose sentencing is disproportionate to their crimes. Currently, the justice system hurts minorities, giving harsher sentences to them compared to the more affluent white inmates. Unfortunately, it is very likely that Trump will not use his clemency power as much if at all to those who are being disproportionately hurt by the justice system. If anything, his strong opposition to Obama’s policies will make it more difficult for any change in mandatory minimums to become proportional to the crimes committed.