Contact: Rabiah Burks
FAMM Supports FIRST STEP Act
Washington, DC – FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill responded to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s passage of the FIRST STEP Act sponsored by Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
“We support the FIRST STEP Act because it contains a number of critical reforms that FAMM has spent decades fighting to achieve and that would provide some long overdue relief to many of the 40,000 prisoners we are in contact with each week. We’re grateful that Reps. Collins and Jeffries have worked so long and tirelessly on this bill.
“FAMM recognizes that in its current form the FIRST STEP Act likely falls short of its intended purpose – reducing the federal recidivism rate. There is room to improve the core of the bill so that the people most likely to reoffend get the incentives they need to do the hard work of rehabilitation. And since the best reentry begins with a right-sized sentence, we truly hope that this bill is merely a first step toward the larger, pressing goal of passing meaningful sentencing and prison reform.”
The positive reforms in the bill include increased good time credit, compassionate release reform, keeping prisoners within 500 driving miles of their loved ones, expanding the use of home confinement, and additional funding for recidivism-reducing programming in prisons. These policies have the potential to positively impact 183,000 people in federal prison and their families.
Unfortunately, the bill focuses incentivized programming on low-risk individuals who pose little threat of re-offending, instead of targeting those resources to individuals who need it the most. With 94 percent of prisoners – no matter their risk level – coming home someday, it is essential that incentivized prison programming is real and meaningful for all prisoners.
FAMM is a nonpartisan, national advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice reforms to make our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM promotes change by raising the voices of families and individuals who are directly affected by counterproductive sentencing and prison policies.
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