Criminal justice reform bill headed to president's desk

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The legislation, dubbed the First Step Act, includes measures that will allow thousands of federal inmates to leave prison earlier than they otherwise would have, will ease some mandatory minimum sentences and will give judges more leeway in sentencing, among other things.

The bill follows the example of states such as Texas, South Carolina and Georgia that have boosted training and treatment programs for inmates in an effort to curb recidivism and save taxpayer dollars.

"Rather than have a list of offenses that did not qualify, I think the better approach would have been to have a list of offenses that did qualify for the program", Rubio said. "We are committed to seeing such criminal justice reform legislation enacted into law this year", the letter said. "That's a nice word".

Inmates walk the exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville California
Inmates walk the exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville California

The bill would affect only federal prisoners, who make up less than 10 percent of the country's prison population.

The bill, which does not cover state jails and prisons, would shave a collective 53,000 years of the sentences of current inmates over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office - though some advocacy groups dispute this figure. In a statement, the White House noted that Johnson was a great-grandmother who had served nearly 22 years for a first-time offense. Today, we took a step - a first step - in that direction. Some 2,000 federal offenders are likely to be impacted by this. However, only prisoners classified as minimum or low risk may redeem these time credits to reduce their sentence.

The act would end so-called "three strikes" mandatory life sentences for defendants facing a third drug conviction, except for those with a prior "serious violent felony". He succeeded in making some changes to the criminal justice system with 2010 legislation that reduced the disparities between mandatory crack and powder cocaine sentences. The overwhelming majority of people in federal prisons on crack charges are black.

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The intense objections of Senate hardliners like Tom Cotton of Arkansas and John Kennedy of Louisiana - who made false claims that the bill would lead to early releases of people convicted of violent offenses - helped deprioritize the bill by Senate leadership.

It bans shackling pregnant prisoners and mandates that tampons and sanitary napkins be available to women.

The Senate bill overcame late obstacles by Sens. The President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father had served a 14-month sentence for witness tampering, tax evasion and illegal campaign finance, and celebrity Kim Kardashian were among those who brought President Donald Trump on board with the legislation.

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"I'll be waiting with a pen", said the president. Big questions remain about how to end irrational mass incarceration and other issues.

From left, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, arrive for a news conference in the Capitol on the passage of the criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act. "Particularly, as we worked quietly at it behind the scenes, first of all, to get these 60 or more votes, so we could show the leader we could get it up, and get it passed?". The Tampa Bay Times reported that GEO Group bought Community Education Centers, one of the country's leading providers of rehabilitative "halfway houses", for $360 million previous year and told investors it meant to make more purchases.

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