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House Judiciary Committee Passes FIRST STEP Act on Bipartisan Vote on Wednesday

May 9, 2018

Washington, D.C., May 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- May 9, 2018FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Contact: Jim ForbesDirector of Communications, Prison Fellowship(703) 544-8540 (work) (304) 780-5628 (cell)

Washington, D.C.— Prison Fellowship applauds members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee for today’s passage of the FIRST STEP Act in a strong, bipartisan vote. Reps. Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries introduced the prison reform initiative aimed at lowering recidivism and prison populations through rehabilitative programming.

“Today, we were thrilled to see the House Judiciary Committee pass by voice vote the FIRST STEP Act ( H.R.5682 ),” said Craig DeRoche, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy with Prison Fellowship. “While this legislation is only a “first step” to advancing criminal justice reform, it is by no means an insignificant step. The safety of our communities is at stake and for more than 180,000 men and women incarcerated in federal prisons, justice and hope hang in the balance.”

“The bipartisan FIRST STEP Act would improve the likelihood that men and women in federal prison will leave better prepared to become productive citizens,” added DeRoche. “Through individualized risk assessments and expansion of recidivism-reducing programs for all federal prisoners, community safety will be protected. These are goals we can all agree on. The sponsors worked tirelessly and courageously to negotiate a bill that reflects their shared values while maintaining a path forward to the President’s desk. We now urge House leadership to bring the FIRST STEP Act to the House floor within the next two weeks.“The FIRST STEP Act will improve the likelihood that men and women in federal prison will leave prepared to become productive citizens through risk assessment, customized programming, and an opportunity to earn time credits toward community corrections. This legislation will also prepare individuals to reenter their communities as responsible citizens by allowing them to serve the final days of their sentences in halfway houses or home confinement, which equips them with support structures as they transition out of custody. As inmates progress through rehabilitation plans tailored to their needs and approach the end of their sentences, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) would conduct risk-and-needs assessments more frequently in order to document when individuals have successfully reduced their risk of reoffending and to ensure that the most appropriate resources remain available to them during the reentry process.

President Trump has demonstrated his readiness to consider prison reforms like those included in the FIRST STEP Act. Earlier this year, a criminal justice roundtable at the White House included groups like Prison Fellowship, Faith & Freedom Coalition, and Right on Crime. The president then used his first State of the Union address to call for “reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance at life,” giving people on both sides of the aisle a reason to stand up and applaud.

About Prison FellowshipPrison Fellowship is the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. With more than 40 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society.

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Jim Forbes Prison Fellowship 304-780-5628 jim_forbes@pfm.org

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