- Lawmakers are set to take on
the criminal justice system.
Welcome to Faith Nation,I'm Jenna Browder.
- And I'm John Jessup.
A vote on criminal justice reform
will take place on the senatefloor in the coming days.
Senator majority leader Mitch McConnell
promised or rathersurprised many this week
when he announced the senate will decide
on a measure known as the First Step Act
during the Lame Duck Session.
If passed, it would be the largest prison
sentencing overhaul in decades
and it has bipartisan support.
- It does.
This has been a priorityfor President Trump
and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
He as worked behind the sceneson criminal justice reform
for the last two years or so.
Although it's been in theworks for a while though.
There are still a lot of questions about
whether this new bill will really work
to cut down in criminalsreturning to prison.
- That's right, Amber Strong is with
Georgetown law professor Sean Hoffwood.
Hoffwood, along with other advocates
worked with the White House on the measure
and is here to tackle someof those tough questions.
- All right let's get right to it.
Question number one that we'rehearing a lot from viewers.
Statistically speaking,do we, do prison reform
programs actually work?
- They do Amber.
The programs that arein the First Step Act
were modeled off ofseveral different states
that had success in bothreducing the prison population,
getting people out of prison early
and still watching their crime rate fall
and we know that certain programs already
can reduce recidivism because the
Federal Bureau of Prisons has one.
The residential drug and abuse program,
which has reduced recidivism by 16%
and so the First StepAct is evidence-based
policies that if implemented correctly
should reduce the number of people that
come out and commit new offenses.
- Number two, there isconcern about this bill
that it is going toallow violent offenders
early release, is that true?
- It's not true.
Although I wish it were.
Because all of the data tells us that the
people we most want toincentivize with early release
are people who havecommitted violent offenses
because if we can rehabilitate them,
once they get out, they aren'tcommitting new offenses.
I mean this is the centralpremise of First Step,
which is 97% of people in federal prison
are gonna be released someday.
Why wouldn't we want to incentivize people
to be rehabilitated.
And I'd say of any group ofpeople, people that committed
violent offenses are the people that most
need to be incentivizedto be rehabilitated.
And yet the bill doesn't do that,
in part because somesenators have screamed
about the release of violent prisoners,
not understanding that thatwould actually make us safer.
- We've had a lot of time to study
mandatory minimum sentencesand their effectiveness.
Do they work, what have we learned
about them over the years?
- Well, they don't work forthe reason we once thought,
which was to deter people.
The thought that we're gonna give somebody
a 20-year mandatory minimum and it will
deter other people.
All of the data out theresays that the chance
of getting caught is what deters people
and not the length of the sentence.
And so mandatory minimumshave basically taken
away the discretion that judges have
and given it to federalprosecutors who are not
nearly as knowledgeableabout sentencing policy
as federal judges are.
- Let's throw one morein for good measure.
What is something that you've heard,
you've been so close to this bill,
what is something you'veheard that just simply
isn't true about the First Step Act.
- Well, some of theopponents in the senate
have said that this is a jail break bill
and the thing everyone needsto know about this bill
is it's two things.
It's one incredibly modest reform.
This does not releasethousands of people out early.
It releases some who have reduced their
risk of recidivism out early,
which is what we want.
And second, it onlyprovides seven extra days
of good time a year toeveryone in federal prison.
So, for people serving a 20-year sentence,
this is not going to lead tothat much earlier release.
And at the end of the day this bill is
both modest reform, but it's also the best
reform bill of my lifetime to potentially
come out of the U.S. Congress.
- Well, Sean, thank you somuch for joining us today.
- Thank you for having me.
- Well many faith leaders have voiced
their support for the First Step Act.
For more on that, we arejoined by Heather Rice Minus.
of Prison Fellowship.
Heather thanks so much for being here.
- Thank you so much for having me.
- [Jenna] Heather, whyis this such an important
issue for Christians.
- Yeah, for believers, you know,
we want to see justice lived out.
We want to bring hope to people and that's
why I think so many Christians are
involved in prison ministry and going
inside the walls and telling people
about the hope of the gospel,
but I also believe as Christians
that we are supposed to stand for justice.
There's so many versesin the Bible that speak
to this and standing up for those who
can't speak for themselves and right now,
with the criminal justicesystem, we have some
serious issues in termsof people receiving
disproportional sentencesand people not having
the skills and opportunitiesthey need inside prison
to really transform andcome home as good neighbors,
good citizens and so that'swhy the First Step Act,
that's what they need to do.
- Heather, often there'sthis social stigma
associated with peoplewho've been incarcerated.
What role does the church play in helping
overcome those stigmasand why is it important
that we realize that wehave to play this role.
- Right, for Christians,if you think of the
grace we each receive and getting a
second chance from Christ.
We should be at the forefront
of welcoming people home.
We have a second chancein Christ and I think
we should offer a second chance to those
who have paid their debt by opening up
our congregations and welcoming them home
and letting them know that through Christ
there is a fresh start.
- Heather, how has prisonfellowship been really
helping to push this legislation forward?
- So I have been in government affairs
with Prison Fellowshipfor nearly six years
and about that entiretime I have been working
on some version of this bill.
And I am so excited thatwe are as close as we have
ever been and I believethat's going to happen.
What that looks like for us is we are
up on Capitol Hill andwith the administration
meeting offices, talking to them about
how this bill matters froma Christian perspective.
We have an army of grass roots,
Christian believers,many ministry volunteers,
many people how have been touched by
a crime or an incarcerationin their own lives
or with their families,who are also reaching out
and contacting theirlegislators about the bill
and then we're working in coalition with
a lot of different groups.
A lot of other faith based organizations
have been at the forefrontright there with us,
along with secular groups and it's,
it's a great coalitionand we're really looking
to get this done andhave a Christmas miracle.
- Heather, I got to askyou because there's a lot
of focus of course on prison reform,
criminal justice reform,which I think everybody can
agree needs to be done.
- But how do you balancethat against the fact
that you have a lot offolks who have been injured
by some type of crime.
How do you push somethinglike this without looking
like you've forgotten some of the victims
of really serious crimes.
- I would say if we don'tthink about prison reform,
we are actually doing adisservice to victims.
We believe at PrisonFellowship that crime is not
just an offense against the state.
It is harm to a direct victim often
and to the community.
And we should be puttingpeople in a system
that allows for people to make amends
and to earn back the public's trust.
If all we're doing is warehousing people,
we are actually doinga disservice to victims
because people are gonna come back home,
make new victims andthey're not going to take
accountability for theharm that they have caused.
- And Heather, if thisgets pushed through,
what is next for Prison Fellowship?
- Well, we have more workto do at the federal level.
I think first and foremost,this bill will still
require a lot of oversightand implementation
and so we are gonna be continuing to watch
the roll out of all the provisions of
this bill very closely.
In addition, we're working really hard
on trying to expand prison education.
We'd love to see Pellgrants restored to people
who are incarcerated for example.
And then we are also veryactive at the state level
and in fact, the state'shave really pushed
this movement forward.
We have about 12 state campaigns
and they've been moving much quicker
at passing reforms andI think that's actually
given Congress the courage to get where
they are today on the First Step Act.
- Heather Rice Minuswith Prison Fellowship.
Thank you for joining us today.
- Thank you so much.
- Well, house Republicanswill not be voting this week
on a measure to fund thegovernment and provide
money for border security.
Law makers in the houseare expected to recess
tonight and not resumebusiness until next Wednesday.
That leaves just two days to pass funding
before a partial government shutdown
kicks in on December 21.
Money to pay for PresidentTrump's border wall
is a key part to that funding measure.
Republicans and Democratshave locked horns
over the President'spromise to build a wall
and after a public displayof the contentious dispute
between top lawmakers and the President
in the Oval Office, there's little hope
of the two sides striking a deal,
but that is the least ofthe President's problems
right now with his personal lawyer
heading to prison for three years.
The President is speaking out.
- Well, joining us now to help break down
all of this is our chiefpolitical analyst David Brody.
David, the President today on Twitter,
let me get it right,Twitter, declared that Mexico
is paying for the wall and that savings
from his new trade dealwith Mexico and Canada
are fulfilling that one campaign promise
that one way or another,Mexico will be paying.
Is that something thathis supporters will buy?
- Well, I think his supporters will buy it
because remember Donald Trump didn't say
Mexico's gonna pay for the wall,
what he said is especially later,
one way or the other Mexicois gonna pay for the wall
and that's the key, that's the wiggle room
one way or the otherand what does that mean?
It could mean, look a tradedeficit in surplus with Mexico.
In other words, if he can get18 to 20 billion dollars back
that pays for the wall.
I know a lot of folks aresaying that's pie in the sky,
but that could be potentiallywhat happens here,
especially with that tweet he talked about
with that new trade agreement.
There's also a talk abouthaving a remittance fee
on some sort of money that goes from
U.S. individuals here to Mexico.
In other words, folks are sending money
back to their families there.
So, there's all different ways that
the Trump Administrationwill probably have to
figure out how to dothat because Mexico's not
coming across here sayinghere you go, Mr. Trump,
here's a check.
- One way or another, he's looking to
fulfill that campaign promise.
- That's right.
- David you talked to the President about
this and about Mexicopaying for this wall.
- Yeah, it was in January2017, third interview he did
and we actually at the time they,
the Trump Administration was talking about
an import tax, a border tax on goods
coming in from Mexico, a 20% border tax
and that was part of our discussion,
so have a look at what we talked about.
- This tax on Mexicoor imports from Mexico,
how serious are you aboutsomething like that?
- Well, it's something thatI have the right to do,
it's something that Ican impose if I want.
We are getting along actually very well
with the Mexican government.
We'll see what happens.
- If there was somesort of tax on imports,
what about the argument that you've heard
before that indeed it'll bepassed along to consumers.
- With respect to Mexico,something else could happen
which would be much more positive for
both Mexico and the United States.
- So the reason we wantedto play that for you
is to give you a sensethat even back then,
he was thinking of some creative way
to figure out how Mexico'sgonna pay for this wall.
- You know we saw this weekend that
unforgettable Oval Officemeeting with Chuck and Nancy.
- Chuck and Nancy.
- Where the President said he would
own a government shutdown.
We know that the deadline,the 21st is right
around the corner.
Do you think the President will really do
a shut down over the border wall?
- I think so, I think it's gonna happen.
As a matter of fact, I think we were,
I was on this program and I can remember
last week, I was heresaying that I thought
it was gonna happen.
Because this is his last best chance.
It's not gonna happen with Nancy Pelosi
and the Democrats controlling Congress
come January, so he's gotta do it now,
so I think he's gonna do it.
And look, it's important to point out
that this is just a partialgovernment shutdown,
so if we go through some of the agencies
that will be closed, there'sfive of them, specifically.
DHS, Department of HomelandSecurity, there they are,
DOJ, Department of Justice.
You also have the Interior Department,
State Department and HUD,
Housing and Urban Development,
so it's a partial government shutdown,
basically 75% of thegovernment would be open
and even with those agencies there,
many of those essentialemployees will still report.
Still, it's over Christmas and he's
gonna get dinged for it for sure.
- David, the President meanwhile is trying
to distance himself from his former
personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
He says he did not violatecampaign finance laws.
What's your take on this whole situation.
- Yeah, well thePresident now speaking out
saying that he didn't violatecampaign finance laws.
How having said that,
let's first talk about whathe said on Twitter exactly
and here's the tweet.
He said many campaignfinance lawyers stated
that I did nothing wrong with respect
to campaign financelaws if they even apply
because this was not campaignfinance, so you know,
basically what theTrump Administration and
specifically DonaldTrump is arguing is that
this was not campaign funds.
These were his own personalfunds and that in essence
he didn't knowingly do it and it was up
to Michael Cohen to basicallyunderstand the laws,
the rules and that's on him, not on Trump
and I think that's the key.
Did he knowingly actually try to influence
the presidential campaign and do that.
I think that's reallythe key to all of this
and also he can make, he,Trump can make the argument
to say look, the reasonI did it is because I was
trying to protect my family.
I was trying to protect theembarrassment to Melania
and the kid and all of that.
You can make that argument.
It's very hard to proveintent in something like that.
- To alter the campaign.
- And if it's not intent,
if you can't prove intent,then it becomes civil.
It doesn't become a felony and I think
that's the difference.
- That's what we'll watch.
- All right, David, thank you.
- Thanks guys.- Thanks David.
- Well, Nancy Pelosiafter much speculation
appears to have support to become the next
House Speaker in January.
For more on that, we turn to our
Capitol Hill correspondentAbigail Robertson.
Abigail how did NancyPelosi win over the support
of skeptics in her bid to become
the next House Speaker?
- Well, John, she struck a deal with them.
She said that if she becomes the next
Speaker of the House, she agrees to serve
no more than four years in the position
and almost immediately after she made this
announcement, she wonover about seven of those
who said that they were opposing her.
So as of now, she hasthe votes in her party
to be the next Speaker of the House.
- Abigail, when willDemocrats in the house
officially vote for the next speaker?
- They'll vote thewhole house when they're
back January 3 and Democrats officially
move into the majority into the House.
- Abby, we know contraryto White House statements
over this issue in the senate today,
lawmakers took actionto rebuke Saudi Arabai
over the killing ofjournalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Yes, there were two resolutions that
passed the Senate thisafternoon in regards
to Saudi Arabia and rebuking the country
for the death of thejournalist Jamal Khashoggi.
One of the resolutions said that the U.S.
Should stop aiding SaudiArabia in the civil war
in Yemen and the other resolution said
that senators find that the crown prince
of Saudi Arabia isresponsible for the death
of the journalist.
Now neither one of these resolutions
is expected to pass the houseby the end of this year,
but the Senate wantedto send a strong message
to the long-time ally.
- And finally senators also took action
to combat sexual harassment on the Hill.
Is that right Abby?
- Yes, that is right Jenna.
Both the House and Senate passed
major legislation that overhauls
how Congress handlessexual harassment claims
here on the hill.
This was a really bigbill that they've been
working on for months and it's now
on its way to the President'sdesk and essentially
the main parts of thebill will protect victims
that come forward.
It strengthens thetransparency of the process
and the huge part here that taxpayers
will be very happy to hear.
It makes it so that lawmakersare personally liable
for any harassment andretaliation settlements
that they have to pay sotaxpayers are no longer
on the hook to pay for those settlements.
- All right, AbigailRobertson for us on the Hill.
Well, coming up a lookat the growing number
of non U.S. citizens taking part
in the welfare program.
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("We Wish You a MerryChristmas" instrumental)
- Welcome back.
Well, an argument that you sometimes hear
in the immigration debateis that those who come
to the country will dojobs Americans won't do,
making them good for the U.S. economy.
But as Paul Strahanexplains, a new report shows
some immigrants could becosting the country big money.
- Taxpayers foot thebill for welfare programs
and non-citizens areadding plenty to that cost.
Steven Camarota of theCenter of Immigration Studies
has just added up all the numbers.
We found that 63% of households headed
by non-citizens had one or more people
in that household using at least
one welfare program.
- [Paul] That's almost double the rate
of American born citizens.
In terms of food programs or Medicaid,
the share of immigranthouseholds with somebody
using it is about twicethat of the native born.
- [Paul] This is what happens when
millions of low wage,less educated immigrants
flood the nation.
- If you bring in low wage workers, they,
and very often their U.S. born children
qualify for a host of programs.
If you had to put itinto a bumper sticker,
it's that there's a highcost to cheap labor.
- [Paul] These folks arealso three times as likely
to be uninsured, causing Americans to bear
much more cost.
- Non-citizens in general and immigrants
in general have very high rates
of lacking insurance,usually double or triple
of that of the native born.
But what happens when someone shows up
in an emergency room?
They're gonna care,we're not gonna not that,
and it's gonna come ataxpayer expense anyway.
- Or at the expense of other sick people
who those hospitals will just hit
with much higher billsto make up for those
who got their care for free.
Camorata points to the solution.
Make an immigration systemthat mostly takes in
more educated peoplewho are more qualified
to get the kind of jobs that will allow
them to afford insuranceand keep off welfare,
so you don't have to foot the bill.
Paul Stahan, CBN News, Washington.
- Well an acknowledgementand an apology from
America's largest Protestant church.
The Southern Baptist Convention released
a report detailing the denomination's ties
to slavery and racism.
Albert Mohler, presidentof the Southern Baptist
Theological Seminarysaid quote we must repent
of our own sins, we cannotrepent for the dead.
We must, however, offerfull lament for legacy
we inherit and a story that is now ours.
The school's year long studyshows that it's founders
owned slaves and weredeeply complicit in the
defense of slavery.
Mohler also added that theschool will not attempt
to rewrite the past, rather tell its story
in full and not hide.
- [John] Well after the break,
the benefits of giving.
How generosity could help your health.
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- [Woman] This is our nature as a country.
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- Jenna, it is hard to believe
Christmas is right around the corner,
can you believe it?
- It is, I know crazy.
- Well, with Christmasright around the corner,
we're officially enteringthe season of giving
and as CBN news health reportLorie Johnson shows us,
doing good and giving to others can
also be good for the giver.
The facts are clear.
Givers live longer,happier, healthier lives.
Studies show generosity triggers a number
of significant changes, all of them good,
both mentally and physically.
Here at the worldrenowned Cleveland Clinic,
Dr. Michael McKee develops ways to enhance
the inner healing response of patients.
- There are tremendoushealth benefits to giving.
- [Lorie] Stress leads to illness
and Dr. McKee says giving can reverse
the deadly affects of stress.
It doesn't matter whetheryou give time or money
or if it's to a lovedone or complete stranger.
- Well, we know that the giving tends
to reduce blood pressure, slow heart rate.
Again giving reduces stress.
It reduces depression.
- [Lorie] Researchers from the
National Institutes of Health studied MRIs
of people who gave to various charities.
They found generosity stimulates
the reward center in the brain,
releasing chemicals thatstrengthen our immune system.
- And we know again that there's
a release of endorphins.
These are the kinds of magical chemicals
that come from various areas in the brain
and they flood throughout the system.
They're cousins basically but some
reduce pain, some kind ofseek out sick looking cells
and exert a healing effect on them.
There are many different positive effects.
- [Lorie] Dr. StevenDeutsch is the chairman
of psychiatry at the EasternVirginia Medical School.
He says doctors common usegiving in treating depression.
- We encourage people to not be so
self-absorbed and to think about others.
We even tell people to practice being
concerned and invested in other people.
- [Lorie] He says the more people give,
the easier it gets.
- Sometimes they may feel initially
that it's fraudulent, that it's not really
who they are, but over time it becomes
more and more comfortable for them
and it does have a powerfultherapeutic effect.
- [Lorie] So people whofeel powerless or worthless
find a new purpose and value by seeing
their actions help others and they tend
to live longer and healthier lives.
Lorie Johnson, CBN News.
- So the lesson if you wantto live longer and happier,
it's better to give than to receive.
- That's so true, have you gotten your
Christmas gifts yet?
- I've gotten a few, butI still have a little
more to get done.
- Yeah, me too.
- Thanks for calling me out.
Well, that's gonna do itfor tonight's Faith Nation.
- Have a great evening.