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Our Elected Officials Can Transform Countless Lives During Second Chance Month 

Apr 8, 2019 by AFP

Last year, President Donald Trump signed into law the First Step Act, one of the most significant reforms to the criminal justice system in decades.

Many have already been given a second chance under the First Step Act. And there’s more to come.

The new law will save taxpayer dollars, create safer communities by reducing recidivism, and give formerly incarcerated individuals a chance to lawfully provide for their families and themselves through dignified work.

But we haven’t yet realized its full potential.

At a recent White House event meant to celebrate the law, President Trump pledged to fully fund it. That’s a great sign and the president should be applauded for his commitment to the law’s success. Now, Congress must ensure this happens through the appropriations process. Congress and the administration must also work together to implement core provisions of the First Step Act, such as instructing the federal Bureau of Prisons to issue accurate good time credit to those serving sentences.

It’s a big task. The First Step Act is the first federal reform in many years to make the criminal justice system less punitive and more redemptive. Now, Congress and the Trump administration can take the next step by ensuring these policies take hold.

Our lawmakers and President Trump deserve thanks for passing this legislation. It has the potential to improve countless lives, now and in the future.

But anything less than full implementation will leave in place unnecessary barriers standing in the way of second chances.

During Second Chance Month, our elected officials have a great opportunity to make essential reforms to our criminal justice system.

Encourage them to fully fund and implement the First Step Act. Sign the letter.