Rabiah Burks, 202.822.6700
FAMM Celebrates Enactment of the First Step Act
The criminal justice organization says the bill will provide much-needed relief for families.
WASHINGTON – FAMM President Kevin Ring commended President Donald Trump for signing the First Step Act into law today:
“Today is a day to celebrate. We are so happy for the thousands of families who will get their incarcerated loved ones home a little sooner – and, in some cases, a lot sooner. The First Step Act might be a small first step, but it is finally a step in the right direction.
“Many of the reforms that President Trump signed into law today – mandatory minimum sentence reductions, expanded compassionate release for sick and elderly individuals, more ‘good time’ credit, new rehabilitative programming – are reforms that FAMM proposed and fought for over the past decade and longer. These changes mean so much for families, and we’re grateful to have played a part in making these reforms a reality.”
Background on the First Step Act
The First Step Act is a modest but comprehensive criminal justice reform bill and includes both prison and sentencing reform. The bill incentivizes federal prisoners to partake in rehabilitative programming by offering increased time in pre-release custody, and reduces some of the federal government’s lengthiest mandatory minimums.
FAMM worked with Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the original bill sponsors, to ensure that the bill included reforms that address some of the problems that most plague the families of prisoners. These reforms include:
- Fixing the broken compassionate release process so that
- Terminally ill prisoners can receive family visits quickly, get help filing a request for release, and have their requests reviewed in an expedited timeline;
- Prisoners can appeal the denial of a compassionate release request to the courts after exhausting administrative procedures or if the Bureau of Prisons fails to respond to the request within 30 days;
- Requiring the Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate people within 500 driving miles of their families whenever security, programming, and medical needs permit;
- Increasing the amount of time prisoners earn for good behavior from 47 to 54 days per year, fixing a longstanding technical glitch in federal law;
- Requiring the Bureau of Prisons to put low-risk people in home confinement, which is currently underutilized, for the full amount of time allowed by law.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.
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