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Sen. Moran Sponsors Bipartisan Prison, Sentencing Reform Legislation

Bipartisan First Step Act endorsed by the President

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies – this week sponsored S. 3649, the First Step Act, to reduce recidivism, promote public safety and improve fairness in the sentencing of federal crimes.

“This crucial, sensible legislation provides an opportunity for Congress to set aside our differences and make historic progress on bipartisan criminal justice reform that will benefit Kansans and Americans innumerably,” said Sen. Moran. “The First Step Act will increase fairness in crime and drug sentencing, help curb the devastating opioid epidemic, and ultimately, make our Kansas communities safer. This bill also promotes proven recidivism reduction and professional development programs which will create better opportunities for inmates to succeed after they serve their time.”

The First Step Act combines prison reform proposals that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives earlier this year with sentencing reform provisions from the bipartisan, Sen. Moran-sponsored Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February.

The 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 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 also 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, any savings generated by the reforms would automatically be reinvested into law enforcement programs to further reduce crime and improve community safety.

The First Step Act was introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and sponsored by Senators Moran, Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

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