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