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Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich authored an op-ed supporting the First Step Act on Nov. 29 in the Washington Post.
Recalling his extensive experience as a legislator, Gingrich wrote about the massive obstacles the First Step Act is working to overcome — such as a status-quo mindset among some lawmakers and a congressional process that aims to attach unnecessary and often controversial riders onto popular bills — but noted that passing this legislation would be well worth it.
The First Step Act would reduce crime, provide a second chance for individuals who have already paid their debt to society and save taxpayers money. States such as Georgia, Texas and Pennsylvania have already tried many of the reforms in the First Step Act — and with much success. Providing such services as substance abuse treatment, vocational training and educational support, to mention a few, has worked wonders.
The First Step Act is not, as some of its opponents wrongly claim, a get-out-of-jail-free card for our country’s most violent offenders.
“The First Step Act does not grant so-called early release to dangerous, high-risk violent criminals,” Gingrich wrote. “The bill does allow the Bureau of Prisons to move certain minimum- and low-risk inmates to lower-security detention regimes — which could include halfway houses, home confinement or supervised release, if the circumstances warrant.”
“That would not be an option for violent criminals, drug kingpins (including those who traffic fentanyl) or other perpetrators of many other federal crimes,” he wrote.
The First Step Act provides a gateway for federal inmates to re-integrate into their families and communities and live law abiding, productive lives. After all, 95 percent of those now incarcerated will be released one day.
To learn more about the First Step Act, read Newt Gingrich’s op-ed here.
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