First Step Act up for consideration in the House of Representatives this upcoming week

The House of Representatives will take up the “First Step Act” a bill to make evidence based changes to the criminal justice system, particularly to the Bureau of Prisons. It will require the BoP to classify all new and existing prisoners by numerous evidence based factors and get them into an appropriate anti-recidivism program. Many prisoners would be eligible for earlier transfer to home confinement or other non-prison facilities. It would allow prisoners that make substantial progress in education or other self improvement to gain extra credit against their remaining prison time.

The bill also bars certain restraints to pregnant or recently post-partum females.

This bill was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan majority of 25 to 5.

It doesn’t go far enough, but, as is its title, it is a good First Step.

I would like to see other provisions passed, such as a ban on private prisons in the Federal System with a 5 year phaseout period, but that will have to wait for future legislation.

First Step Act has passed the House of Representatives by a 360 to 59 vote, with 8 not voting.

Republicans split 226 ayes to 2 nays with 6 not voting.
Democrats split 134 ayes to 57 nays with 2 not voting.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it could face some road blocks in the Senate Judiciary Committee.