Prison Reform Gets New Life in House With Dem Backing

Washington Free Beacon | 5/8/2018 | Charles Fain Lehman
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BY: Charles Fain Lehman

After several weeks of stalled negotiations, a proposal for reform to America’s prisons was floated Monday in the House of Representatives, but may yet face substantial opposition from Republicans in the Senate.

FIRST - STEP - Act - Reps - Hakeem

The FIRST STEP Act, sponsored by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) and Doug Collins (R., Ga.), would substantially overhaul the process of exiting prison, and potentially allow thousands of current offenders to be released, according to Axios.

The release would be facilitated by a restructuring of good-time credits, earned for good behavior and which allow prisoners to be released early. Retroactive application of a good-time credit expansion could see as many as 4,000 federal prisoners sent home, according to a left-leaning reform group's national director.

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The bill would additionally allow prisoners to complete sentences in halfway homes or on house arrest, and mandate the provision of certain services to female prisoners while banning shackling during childbirth.

The FIRST STEP Act has moved forward in part with the backing of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has been a major voice pushing for prison reform in recent months. According to Politico, Kushner was a major force behind the Jeffries-Collins bill, and is likely to be important in garnering it support among Congressional conservatives and in the White House.

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The bill also has the backing of a number of conservative-leaning organizations, most of them within the sphere of the libertarian, pro-reform Koch brothers. One group, Freedom Partners, launched an ad campaign concurrently with the bill roll-out, describing it as designed to "create new, evidence-based risk and needs assessment tools" to better facilitate reentry.

In spite of this support, the FIRST STEP Act may face stiff opposition in the Senate, a Republican Senate aide told the Free Beacon. The aide suggested that a number of senators—including Sens. Cotton (Ark.), Hatch (Utah), Kennedy (La.), Purdue...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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