WASHINGTON (CN) - One plank of the platform that won the election for President-elect Donald Trump was a tough-on-crime promise to "Make America Safe Again."
"When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country," Trump proclaimed during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland four months ago.
Trump warned audiences across the country about murder epidemics in crime-ridden inner cities, and praised the former stop-and-frisk policy in New York that a federal judge slammed in 2013 for unfairly targeting minorities.
The murder rate is actually one of many statistics Trump misrepresented, but his notion that America is soft on crime struck a nerve with supporters.
Now, with Inauguration Day on the horizon, advocates of criminal-justice reform wonder what putting Trump in the Oval Office will mean to the quiet, bipartisan momentum their cause has built during President Barack Obama's administration.
Trump himself offers little to go on – his nonexistent political experience coupled with consistently inconsistent positions, such as whether women should face “punishment” for undergoing legal abortions.
As for the politicians in Trump’s inner circle, running mate Mike Pence signed a bill in 2013 as governor of Indiana that criminalized lying on a marriage-license application. This was two years before the Supreme Court outlawed gay-marriage bans like the one in Indiana, at a time when couples protested such laws by applying for marriage licenses the law prohibited. Pence’s law was problematic for such protests since online applications in Indiana included separate sections designated as male and female.
Reformers can take heart, however, with a law Pence signed in the same year that reduced sentences for some drug offenses and made it easier for people convicted of crimes to rejoin their communities.
"Indiana should be the worst place in America to commit a serious crime and the best place, once you've done your time, to get a second chance," Pence said in a statement on the bill at the time.
Earlier as a congressman, Pence also voted for the Second Chance Act, which set aside federal money for criminal re-entry programs.
Ames Grawert, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, is cautiously optimistic.
"That's really encouraging if that's what he believes," Grawert said. "If that's the sort of outlook he brings to the White House, and Mike Pence has a real role to play in setting policy, that could be pretty good."
At the same time, though, Trump has also been close to people like Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and proud champion of stop and frisk. Giuliani is now reportedly one of the top candidates for secretary of state.
"If a President Trump were to do something to incentivize states to enact stop-and-frisk programs, we think that would be worrying," Grawert said.
Experts also hope that Trump gleaned support from criminal-justice reform from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an erstwhile confidante of the president-elect's who enacted bail-reform legislation in his state.