The movement for criminal justice reform has "regressed" since the days of the Barack Obama administration as "polarized positions" on justice issues has prevented much progress, says former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder, who served under Obama, made the remarks while accepting the Distinguished Achievement Award in Evidence-Based Crime Policy on Monday from the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. Holder recalled convening a meeting during the Obama presidency in which disparate entities including the Tea Party, the Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union and Koch Industries agreed on at least some criminal justice issues.
Holder disputed the argument currently being made by some politicians that pursuing criminal justice reform would contribute to an increase in crime. "Reform and public safety can be true partners," Holder said. The award was given for Holder's being a "champion for science" at DOJ. Among other actions, he created the first Science Advisory Board at DOJ's Office of Justice Programs. The Trump administration did not continue the board, and it has not been revived in the Biden administration. George Mason named nine law enforcement officials to its Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame: retired Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, Seattle Police research director Loren Atherley, New Zealand deputy police executive R. Mark Evans, Boulder, Co., Police Chief Maris Herold, Darien, Ct., Police Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Barrie, On., Deputy Police Chief Rich Johnston, Arlington, Tx., deputy police chief Tarrick McGuire, retired Fairfax, Va., Police Chief Edwin Roessler and Cambridge, Ma., deputy police superintendent C. Daniel Wagner.