“This is a remarkable bipartisan achievement”
Dec 18 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) – today applauded the Senate’s passage of the First Step Act, S.3649, of which he is an original cosponsor, to reduce recidivism, promote public safety and improve fairness in the sentencing of federal crimes.
“The First Step Act is a remarkable bipartisan achievement,” said Sen. Moran. “Supported by the president, a supermajority of the United States Senate, and law enforcement and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum, this legislation will allow non-violent offenders to serve time that fits their crime and then, importantly, provide them the opportunity to re-emerge as productive members of society. This legislation is an important first step in promoting a fair and effective criminal justice system, and as chairman of the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, I will work to make certain law enforcement has the tools it needs to remain tough on crime and provide former prisoners a second chance at life.”
Included in the First Step Act is reauthorization of the Second Chance Act, which includes grant programs for drug rehabilitation, vocational training, mentoring, and other reentry and recidivism reduction initiatives. Sen. Moran’s CJS Appropriations Subcommittee overwhelmingly voted to fund the Second Chance Act’s grant programs at $90 million for FY19.
This comprehensive package aims to reduce crime by helping low-risk inmates prepare to successfully rejoin society through participation in proven recidivism reduction and professional development programs. It recalibrates certain mandatory minimum sentences, grants greater discretion for judges in the sentencing of low-level, nonviolent drug crimes and clarifies congressional intent on sentencing enhancements for certain crimes involving firearms. It also preserves the maximum potential sentences for violent and career criminals. The legislation allows petitions for retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act to be considered on an individual basis to reduce sentence disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses.
Under this legislation, savings generated by the reforms would automatically be reinvested into law enforcement programs to further reduce crime and improve community safety.
Items to note:
- Sen. Moran sponsored the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 earlier this Congress.
- The First Step Act is backed by a number of law enforcement groups, 172 former federal prosecutors, and sheriffs from Kansas and 34 states across the country. The National Governors Association, which represents the governors of all 50 states, praised the bill, and a broad coalition of conservative and progressive groups, along with a host of business leaders and faith-based organizations, also support the First Step Act.