Prison Fellowship Applauds the U.S. Senate for Clearing Final Hurdle for Ultimate Passage of FIRST STEP Act in House of Representatives—Media Conference Call on Wednesday
WASHINGTON, DC—Prison Fellowship®, the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, is commending members of the U.S. Senate for passing the FIRST STEP Act—federal criminal justice reform legislation that is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this week and then signed by President Donald Trump.
"We applaud the Senate for taking a bold step for federal criminal justice reform by passing the FIRST STEP Act," said James Ackerman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Prison Fellowship. "This legislation will help reduce recidivism by preparing men and women to fulfill their God-given potential through restorative programming, including improved substance-abuse treatment programs, life-skills classes, and vocational training—building job readiness to fuel local economies. This is about getting smart on crime by giving men and women, made in the image of God, the tools to change their lives."
"Ninety-five percent of those who are incarcerated today will eventually be released back into our neighborhoods—failing to prepare people returning from prison endangers communities and wastes human potential," said Craig DeRoche, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy. "Today, the Senate refused to double down on the failed policies of the past. The FIRST STEP Act's passage reflects America's growing demand for smarter and more restorative solutions to crime."
The FIRST STEP Act improves programming in federal prisons. It better prepares men and women to become productive citizens through individualized risk assessments and by expanding access to recidivism-reducing programs for all federal prisoners. The sentencing reforms added to the legislation would make minor adjustments to correct disproportional sentencing enhancements and increase judicial discretion in certain federal drug offense cases.
Prison Fellowship, headquartered outside Washington, D.C., is a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. Prison Fellowship was founded in 1976 by Chuck Colson, the former aide to President Richard Nixon who served time in a federal prison camp for a crime related to the Watergate scandal. Colson's post-prison life proved that people who are now behind bars can and should be prepared for productive, meaningful futures. In more than 40 years of service, Prison Fellowship has learned what works—and what doesn't—to transform lives and reduce crime.