On December 18, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed, by a vote of 87 yeas to 12 nays, its version of the First Step Act, legislation which begins to reform our nation’s sentencing laws and prison terms. This bipartisan legislation, which has been strongly supported and promoted by the White House, offers some important improvements to the current federal criminal justice system, but it falls short of providing the meaningful change that is required to make the system genuinely fair. Much more work will be needed as we push for transformational change that will end mass incarceration and racial and ethnic minority disparities in prisons throughout America. The Senate bill, however, represents a major improvement over the original House-passed version, which consisted only of prison reform; it did not have any of the much-needed sentencing reform provisions which are necessary to make genuine changes to the American criminal justice system.
For more information about what is in the bill and how you can urge your Representative to pass this much-needed legislation and send it to the President for his signature, please see the attached Action Alert.