HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham reports at the Washington Post that the Department of Justice has announced that it's suspending a controversial asset forfeiture program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers. Asset forfeiture has become an increasingly contentious practice in recent years. It lets police seize and keep cash and property from people who are never convicted — and in many cases, never charged with wrongdoing. Recent reports have found that the use of the practice has exploded in recent years, prompting concern that, in some cases, police are motivated more by profits and less by justice. Criminal justice reformers are cheering the change. "This is a significant deal," says Lee McGrath, legislative counsel at the Institute for Justice. "Local law enforcement responds to incentives. And it's clear that one of the biggest incentives is the relative payout from federal versus state forfeiture. And this announcement by the DOJ changes the playing field for which law state and local [law enforcement] is going to prefer."
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