By passing the FIRST STEP Act, the Senate unequivocally spoke out against our country’s addiction to mass incarceration. Lawmakers are backing long-overdue fixes to some of the most broken parts of our justice system that for too long have been overly-punitive and downright unfair.
These proposed amendments would stigmatize incarcerated people, block incentives that encourage those who need it most from participating in recidivism-reduction programming, and risk retraumatizing victims of crime.
This bill will be the biggest reform to our justice system in a generation. It’s indeed a first step, an initial salvo in ending the country’s miserable addiction to mass incarceration. But it is a must-pass bill.
The measure has the support of pivotal Republicans and Democrats in Congress, President Donald Trump’s senior White House advisors, and advocacy groups including the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and law enforcement groups.
In the face of outdated federal policy, this bill defends the ability and responsibility of states to create and test the best marijuana policies for the American people, and will decrease the number of people who are unnecessarily incarcerated.
After a delay, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up a prison reform bill backed by the White House but criticized by civil rights groups. Former Attorney General Eric Holder joins the Brennan Center in calling it a poor starting point in fixing the country’s broken justice system.