A White House effort led by President Trump’s son-in-law and policy adviser Jared Kushner passed through the House Judiciary Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote 25 to 5.
As Washington Examiner reports, the “First Step Act” aims to “increase prison security and provide a pathway out for some 4,000 well-behaved prisoners.” The legislation would also provide “help for inmates who are a low security threat, barring help to sexual offenders and murderers.”
#PrisonReform is critical to ensuring ex-offenders can successfully re-enter and prosper in our modern society. The passage of bipartisan legislation by the House Judiciary Committee this week is a positive first step we can ALL get behind! https://t.co/dc8nOudCpO
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 11, 2018
Here’s more on the legislative policy:
The House Judiciary Committee voted 25-5 to back the “First Step Act,” a shocking turn after the media had earlier written off chances that it would pass.
“We see it as a big win,” said an administration official involved in the talks between House Republicans and Democrats.
While it falls short of everything both sides had sought, especially sentencing reforms wanted by Democrats, some in the White House see the negotiations as a compromise “model” for future legislative projects.
To win support, Kushner, the White House, and the bill sponsors had to maneuver through a political minefield and competing interests. Democrats were eager for easing prison terms, Republicans wanted to get tough and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had as a senator vowed to fight prison reform initiatives.
“The president and his administration are pleased the House Judiciary Committee has voted to pass prison reform legislation,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said via Washington Examiner. “This is a bipartisan issue with bipartisan support because studies show this bill will reduce crime and save taxpayer dollars. We are encouraged by the committee’s passage of the bill and look forward to a vote in the full House.”
— Fox News Politics (@foxnewspolitics) May 11, 2018
The bill comes amid both parties pushing legislative proposals to reform the prison system.
“The mass incarceration epidemic is 50 years in the making. Fixing our broken criminal justice system will take an all-hands-on-deck effort from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Democrat Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
“The vast majority of federal prisoners will someday be released from prison and it is important to give them tools to become more productive citizens so that they don’t return to a life of crime,” Chairman Bob Goodlatte added, as Washington Examiner reports.
“I’m not naive enough to think that people that go prison will be able to salvage and save every single one who comes out. But I do believe we can do much better if we give people the opportunity, those who have the will and the determination to take advantage of the opportunity to turn their lives around, to deal with their addiction, to deal with their lack of skills and education, and if when given the opportunity to do so decide they want to take advantage of that to turn their lives around,” Republican Senator John Cornyn said.
Former Heritage Foundation president and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint exclaimed, “I applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approving the FIRST STEP Act. Prison reform has proven successful in reducing recidivism, improving public safety and saving taxpayer dollars in states like Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina. Passing this bill out of committee is the first step toward implementing similar reforms at the federal level and giving incarcerated people the tools they need to become productive members of society.”