LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Americans for Prosperity-Arkansas (AFP-AR) cheered House passage of the First Step Act Thursday, which will now head to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
On December 9, AFP hosted a panel event on the First Step Act that featured Rep. French Hill, along with members of law enforcement and #Cut50, to advocate for the bill. The group has also signaled plans to reform the criminal justice system on the state level.
AFP-AR State Director Ryan Norris issued the following statement:
“Arkansas families have one more reason to rejoice this holiday season after Congress voted to pass the First Step Act. Not only does it make our communities safer by focusing resources on violent offenders, but it will help strengthen families by having their fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters return home in better shape than when they went to prison. And by increasing our focus on rehabilitation, we can make sure individuals reentering our communities have the tools to succeed and stay out of prison for good.
“We commend the lawmakers who supported the bill and understand that there’s something bigger at stake—redemption. When you cut through all the misinformation, it’s clear that this bill will increase public safety, strengthen families and communities, and help those leaving prison stand on their two feet.”
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 sentenced before 2010.
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.