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AFP Thanks Senators Klobuchar, Smith for Helping Pass First Step Act

Dec 19, 2018 by AFP

Grassroots group applauds passage of monumental criminal justice reform bill

BURNSVILLE, MN – Today, Americans for Prosperity-Minnesota (AFP-MN) celebrated the passage of the FIRST STEP Act, a package of critical criminal justice reforms. AFP-MN also praised Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith for supporting the monumental bill. Americans for Prosperity has been at the forefront of supporting the FIRST STEP Act. Earlier this year, the grassroots group issued a Key Vote Alert calling on Representatives to vote ‘YES’ on the legislation.

The FIRST STEP Act makes critical reforms to our federal sentencing laws and improves our federal prisons by focusing on rehabilitating incarcerated people, giving them the tools needed to successfully reenter society upon release from prison.

AFP-Minnesota State Director Jason Flohrs issued the following statement:

“For too long, our criminal justice policies have trapped Americans in a cycle of incarceration and made it too difficult for folks to earn a real second chance. We thank Senators Klobuchar and Smith for taking this tremendous opportunity to work across the aisle and help Americans become productive members of our communities after paying their debt to society. By focusing on smarter sentences and in-prison rehabilitation programs, this bill improves public safety, helps more Americans transform their lives for the better, and allows judges to issue more proportional punishments.

“The First Step Act shows we can start to make the necessary progress towards eliminating barriers and helping people improve their lives when senators choose good policy over partisanship. We urge the House to quickly act on this bipartisan bill and send it to the White House for the president’s signature.”

Background:

  • President Trump, senators from both parties, and major law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police all endorsed the FIRST STEP Act last week.
  • The House of Representatives passed the FIRST STEP Act earlier this year.
  • Freedom Partners recently released a national poll showing that over 80 percent of voters approve of the FIRST STEP Act.
  • The FIRST STEP Act requires the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to place inmates no more than 500 driving miles from home, helping spouses, parents, and children more practically visit their family members behind bars and making it easier for inmates to reintegrate into society upon release.
  • Fixes a mistake in federal law to ensure that all well-behaved prisoners not serving life sentences can accrue 54 days of “good time credit” off their sentences per year, instead of the 47 per year that 178,000 inmates currently receive.
  • Directs the BOP to let low-risk low-needs inmates serve home confinement for up to 6 months of the end of their sentences.
  • Retroactively applies the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1, to current inmates.
  • Expands eligibility for the federal “safety valve” (18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)) to keep more low-level drug offenders from incurring mandatory minimums meant for high-level drug traffickers, creating more proportional punishments.