Dec 19, 2018

3 Ways the FIRST STEP Act Could be the Best Holiday Gift

Post by Freedom Partners

The best gift for the holiday season is being together with family, safe and sound.

It’s cliché, but it’s true.

And it’s one of the reasons the FIRST STEP Act is such an important piece of legislation. The bill can help deliver that gift. Here’s how:

1. Families Would Be Closer Together

The FIRST STEP Act requires the Bureau of Prisons to place inmates no more than 500 driving miles from home. This will make visitation more feasible, enabling families to be more easily reunited during the holidays and throughout the year.

Increased time with family makes it easier for incarcerated individuals to reintegrate into society upon release. When re-entry is successful, the entire community benefits.

2. Formerly Incarcerated Individuals Could Better Provide for Their Families

The FIRST STEP Act expands the opportunities and incentives for incarcerated individuals to take advantage of programs that focus on job training, education, mental health and drug treatment.

This has been proven, at the state-level, to better-equip incarcerated individuals to reenter society upon their release. Being able to get a job and provide for their families will certainly make holidays all the sweeter for those who have paid their debt to society.

3. Holidays Would Be Safer for All

Decreasing recidivism — the rate at which formerly incarcerated individuals reoffend — is key to reducing crime rates. The FIRST STEP Act is aimed at doing just that.

About 97 percent of inmates are eventually released. And more than 75 percent of them will be rearrested within five years of being released. But more access to rehabilitation programs, being closer to family and other reforms in the FIRST STEP Act, re-entry into society will be more successful.

That means fewer crimes. And communities will be safer during the holidays — and every day — if the crime rate decreases.

Senators from both sides of the aisle passed the FIRST STEP Act by a vote of 87-12. Now, if the House of Representatives gets the bill to the President’s desk and it is signed into law, holidays could be happier for years to come