DES MOINES, Iowa – AFP-Iowa lauded the passage of the FIRST STEP Act, criminal justice reform legislation that will enhance public safety, save taxpayer dollars, and provide a second chance to hundreds of thousands of people who’ve paid their debt to society. The Iowa grassroots group also praised Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst for their efforts to bring their colleagues together to accomplish this bipartisan feat.
“Just in time for the holidays, the Senate has given the American people the gift of second chances and safer communities,” said Drew Klein, AFP-Iowa State Director. “As Senator Grassley so eloquently put it on the Senate floor, The FIRST STEP Act ‘will reduce crime, strengthen faith in our justice system, support law enforcement, and give thousands of people a better shot at living a good life.’ We thank Senators Grassley and Ernst for championing this groundbreaking legislation.”
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.