A huge win for bipartisan criminal justice reform
22nd December 2018

At least the week brought one bit of unadulterated good news: The Senate passed an amended version of the First Step Act, and then the House OK’d it. That’s a huge bipartisan win for criminal justice reform.

Hats off to President Trump for his push to get this done, and to presidential adviser Jared Kushner for his long work shepherding the measure through Congress.

Kudos also to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), for daring to work with the White House and conservative Republicans in order to do the right thing.

Among much else, First Step expands early-release-for-good-behavior programs, bolsters job training and relaxes mandatory-minimum sentencing rules for most nonviolent drug crimes. It also makes it more likely that prisoners will be held closer to home, so family members can visit.

The law only covers federal sentences and prisons, but its success should encourage those states that haven’t already embraced similar reforms to move ahead.

More, it opens a door for future progress — how about a Second Step Act?

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