Criminal Justice Reform Bill Heads to the President’s Desk

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Washington, December 20, 2018 | comments

U.S. Congressman Rick W. Allen (R-Ga-12) released the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed S. 756, the legislative vehicle for the First Step Act, by a vote of 358-36, with Congressman Allen’s support. The First Step Act is a bipartisan overhaul of our federal criminal justice system that will better support prisoners in their effort to return to society, find gainful employment, and reduce recidivism. Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed the measure with bipartisan support, clearing the way for House passage and President Trump’s signature.  

“Today’s passage of the First Step Act is a historic achievement for our nation’s criminal justice system after years of negotiation and debate,” said Congressman Allen. “This legislation ensures that our communities remain safe and protected, while also incentivizing those who have made life-altering mistakes to successfully transition and reintegrate themselves back into society through reentry projects such as  academic classes, career training and more. By affording individuals with the dignity and respect that comes with a good job, we can effectively reduce the risk of recidivism significantly and provide a new sense of hope for many families and communities throughout our nation.

“The state of Georgia has implemented a number of initiatives to assist prisoners with their re-entry into society, and I am thrilled that our federal criminal justice system will mirror some of these successful programs. I applaud my colleague in the Georgia delegation, Representative Doug Collins, and the Trump Administration for their hard work on this effort, and I look forward to seeing the First Step Act become the law of the land.”

The First Step Act accomplishes the following:

  • Creates an assessment system that assesses a prisoner’s risk of re-offending
  • Provides proven, effective programs in recidivism-reduction, such as group and individual activities like social learning, academic classes, vocational training, faith-based classes, and prison jobs, that can be used to serve remaining sentences on home confinement
  • Does not allow violent and high-risk criminals to take advantage of time credits that can be used toward home confinement
  • Reduces federal mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders
  • Expands a “safety valve” option which can be used to impose a shorter sentence than the mandatory minimum if certain conditions are met, while maintaining safeguards to ensure violent criminals cannot benefit from reduced sentences
  • If possible, requires that inmates be imprisoned within 500 miles of their residence
  • Prohibits solitary confinement in juvenile facilities


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