Contact: Rabiah Burks
U.S. House of Representatives Should Fix Prison Reform Bill Before Passing It
Washington, DC – FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill today said that the U.S. House of Representatives should improve a prison reform bill before sending it to the U.S. Senate. The bill, the Prison Reform and Redemption Act, H.R. 3356, sponsored by Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), is expected to be marked up in the House Judiciary Committee today at 2:00 p.m. and if passed, H.R. 3356 would permit a limited number of federal prisoners to earn time credits for completing rehabilitative programs, and redeem those credits for more time in a halfway house or on home confinement at the end of their sentences.
“We’re grateful for the hard work the bill sponsors put into this effort, but we are very concerned that this bill is not grounded in what research has shown works to reduce recidivism and keep communities safe,” said Gill. “To reduce recidivism, lawmakers should direct incentivized programming at those offenders who need it the most. This bill, instead, reserves its most attractive incentive–time in a different form of custody–for those who are already the least likely to re-offend. That’s a big mistake.”
While Gill praised lawmakers for including reforms FAMM has championed, including improvements to the Bureau of Prison’s compassionate release program, a correction to the amount of good time credit individuals can receive, and direction to the Bureau to use direct placement on home confinement for low-risk individuals, she said the programming and incentive provisions at the heart of the bill would not advance the bill’s goal of reducing recidivism.
“With 94 percent of prisoners returning to society—no matter their risk level—it is essential that legislation provides incentives for individuals who are the most in need. If protecting public safety through reducing recidivism is the goal, then federal prison reform must include real sentence reductions as incentives to the people with higher risk levels because they have the highest need for services and are coming home one day,” Gill concluded.
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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