Dec 04, 2018

ICYMI: USA TODAY: Vote on FIRST STEP Act to reform ‘out of whack’ prison sentences

Post by Freedom Partners

Arlington, VA – USA TODAY recently published an editorial in support of the FIRST STEP Act. The editorial board notes that the act has not only garnered bipartisan support inside and out of Congress but also represents “the most realistic chance in years to improve the nation’s criminal justice system.”

“Last month, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee — including Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. — agreed on a compromise that would make sentencing more flexible and introduce more humane treatment in prison.

The measure would also go a long way toward helping inmates successfully re-enter society, an urgent task in a nation where nearly 50 percent of federal offenders return to the criminal justice system within eight years.

Bipartisan support for the act extends well beyond Congress. President Donald Trump has endorsed it, as have the Koch network on the right to the ACLU on the left. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and a handful of conservative Republicans are blocking progress. McConnell has told the president that there’s no room to fit it on the agenda this session, according to The New York Times.

Under the Senate bill, inmates who have committed crimes against children, including sex-related crimes, would not be eligible for early release. And risk assessments, according to the Judiciary Committee, would help ensure that violent criminals — which would include inmates who have used weapons to commit violent acts such as attempted rape — stay behind bars.

The Senate proposal represents the most realistic chance in years to improve the nation’s criminal justice system. Republicans and Democrats agree that the system needs an overhaul. Let the Senate vote.”

Click HERE to read the full editorial.