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'Incarceration Nation' No More: Criminal Justice Reform Could Come Next Week

'Incarceration Nation' No More: Criminal Justice Reform Could Come Next Week Read Transcript

- Congress coming in just a few weeks,

criminal justice reform is viewed by some

as a now or never proposition.

Last week it appeared all but dead,

but now it's on track fora Senate vote next week,

where it's expected to pass.

The First Step Act wouldreform sentencing guidelines

and prepare inmates to return to society.

It's backers say it wouldalso reduce recidivism.

Criminal becomes a repeat offender.

Shon Hopwood served time for bank robbery,

and became a jailhouselawyer and is now a law

professor at Georgetown.

- We know that certainprograms already can reduce

recidivism because thefederal bureau of Presidents

has one.

The residential drugand abuse program which

has reduced recidivism by 16%.

- [Dale] The Presidentsupports the legislation

as do some key republicans,but critics including

senator Tom Cotton opposeit because it begins

rolling back mandatory minimum sentencing.

And will speed up the releaseof some current inmates

some fear it could giveviolent criminals a pass.

The split in the GOP is one reason Senate

majority leader MitchMcConnell had been reluctant

to bring the bill to the floor.

But he's now put a process inmotion that could see a vote

early next week.

- We're really looking to get this done

and have a Christmas miracle.

- [Dale] Heather Rice-Minuswith prison fellowship

told CBN News why many faithleaders support the bill.

- Right now, the criminal justice system,

we have some serious issuesin terms of people receiving

disproportional sentencesand people not having

the skills and opportunities they need

inside prison to reallytransform and come home

as good neighbors, good citizens.

- [Dale] A justice department report says

70 million American's aredirectly involved in the

criminal justice system.

The form advocates say it's bad policies,

not an increase in crimethat has led to what some

are calling incarceration nation.

- And we see the criminal justice system

in this country as a hugebarrier to opportunity

for millions and millions of people.

Particularly those whoare the least resources

and it creates a povertytrap, it makes us less safe.

And wastes a lot of resources.

- The first step actcleared the House in May

and if it passes the Senate next week

many believe it willdeliver the most significant

changes to the criminal justice system

in a generation.

Dale Herd CBN News.


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