Trump Celebrates Big Win: 'First Step' Passes With Strong Bipartisan Support

Posted December 21, 2018

"Justice exists when a rapist receives a penalty proportionate to his crime", Louisiana Republican John Kennedy said. In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved.

"Some of the people involved in that played some critical roles coming out of that in criminal justice reform just because I think there is also a religious piece of this where people sit back and they look at the criminal justice system and say to themselves, 'Is this really right?"

If the bill is passed by the House and signed by Trump, it will be seen as a major victory for advocates who have worked for years on similar pieces of reform legislation but were continually blocked by conservatives and scepticism within the Republican leadership.

The centerpiece of the bill directs the Justice Department to create a new risk assessment program in federal prisons, which hold fewer than 200,000 of the nation's 2 million prisoners.

Passage of the legislation is an achievement for Trump, who joined supporters in pushing for a Senate vote when the effort appeared to have stalled. Did I hear the word bipartisan? For example, it reduces the life sentence for some drug offenders with three convictions, or "three strikes", to 25 years.

The First Step Act, which passed 87-12, attracted support from both sides of the aisle, as well as from public figures such as Patricia Arquette, Mark Cuban, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West. Donald Trumpsupported the iteration of the bill that passed in the House in May, and the most current version that will need to return to the House for another vote before it reaches his desk for a signature.

But an array of liberal and conservative advocacy groups also rallied in support of the bill. "But three-quarters of the people serving time in prison for drug offenses are African-American or Latino", Durbin said. The Bureau of Prisons amended its policies in 2008 to bar the practice except in cases of flight risks, but there is no federal law against it.

Inmates walk the exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville California
Inmates walk the exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville California

-Encourages prisoners to participate in programs created to reduce the risk of recidivism, with the reward being an earlier release to a halfway house or home confinement to finish out their sentence.

Every Democratic senator voted in favor of the bill, and Sen.

It allows for more criminals to serve their sentences in halfway houses or under home confinement, and requires offenders to be jailed within 500 miles (800km) from their families.

Trump endorsed the bill after the midterm elections in November, giving Republicans cover to support it and putting pressure on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to bring it to the Senate floor.

Those amendments would have excluded child molesters and other violent felons from early release, required notification of victims before offenders are let out of prison early and included a plan to track the effectiveness of anti-recidivism programs. But in a brief statement Tuesday night, Rubio vaguely said the bill "did not address serious concerns raised by local law enforcement, federal prosecutors and constituents in Florida about the sentencing reforms in this bill".

The advocacy group added that the legislation is "by no means flawless - but we're in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis and the time to act is now".