United States Senate Approves Massive New Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Senate approves bipartisan criminal justice overhaul

Senate approves bipartisan criminal justice overhaul

The House approved the bill 358-36, sending it to Trump's desk for his signature. The House is expected to endorse that bill when it comes up for a likely vote later this week, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisonsin, has expressed support for the legislation.

The legislation also aims to establish programs to head off repeat offenders and protect first-time non-violent offenders from harsh mandatory minimum sentences. The three-strikes law, which hands down a mandatory life sentence to someone with two or more prior convictions for severe drug or violent offenses, will instead receive a 25-year term. People who were imprisoned for crack-related offenses before 2010 will now be able to have their cases reheard under the more equitable terms set forth in the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.

"America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes", Trump tweeted after the Senate passed the bill earlier in the week.

The Appeal wrote today that the act is, at best, a baby step, and there are concerns about its heavy reliance on risk-assessment tools that critics say can reinforce bias in the justice system.

Trump still must sign a funding bill into law to avert a shutdown of some government agencies.

Kushner personally rallied key Republican and Democratic lawmakers to support the bill, which he pitched to the president as a rare bipartisan deal, and persuaded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to bring it to a vote. Cory Booker (D-N.J., pictured), supported the measured the measure.

The Senate has passed the First Step Act, the biggest criminal justice reform package in decades. "It is my hope that this bill represents not just a single piece of legislation, but a turning point in how Congress views its role in advancing criminal justice".

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When the bill appeared to have stalled in recent weeks, Sen.

Twelve Republicans including Sens. Twelve GOP members decided against voting for the bill.

"The First Step Act takes lessons from history and from states - our laboratories of democracy - to reduce crime, save taxpayer dollars and strengthen faith and fairness in our criminal justice system", Grassley said. Senators voted on the legislation on Tuesday evening, although Republicans strived to adjust the bill prior to then.

Participating in the programs, the inmates can earn credits that allow them to serve a portion of their sentence in a halfway house or under house arrest. Vox estimates that the act, when implemented, will result in the release of approximately 6,000 to 7,000 prisoners, and shortening sentences and improving conditions for others. He said Cotton's amendment was too expansive and would prevent at least 30,000 prisoners from participation. Among people serving life without parole sentences in federal prisons, half are there because of drugs.

"It lets me know that my voice-the voice of all the incarcerated pregnant women that have come before me and are still there- it lets me know that we are being heard", Winn said. "That is not respectful of crime victims".

A similar move has been afoot in many states as crime rates have dropped and officials have pursued cost-effective ways to cut the prison population. For example, the Koch brothers-backed group, Americans for Prosperity, applauded senators for putting "policy ahead of politics". The endorsing organizations stretch from the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for American Progress to a host of conservative groups, including the ERLC and other evangelical entities, Heritage Action, The American Conservative Union and FreedomWorks.

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