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November 14, 2018

Prez Trump about to "make an announcement on H.R. 5682, the 'First Step Act'" ... which was a strong endorsement

According to this @POTUS_Schedule tweet, we are this afternoon to hear directly from Prez Trump on criminal justice reform: "4:30PM - Roosevelt Room - Announcement regarding H. R. 5682, the 'First Step Act'."  Lots of media are reporting he will endorse reform and push for a bill to be passed ASAP. I am about to watch the Live Stream here or here or here.

UPDATEPrez Trump announces his support for First Step Act, emphasizing its bipartisan nature and law enforcement's support, as well as asserting it would "roll back some of the Clinton crime law."  Trump concludes his remarks by saying, "I'll be waiting with a pen.  We will have done something that hasn't been done in many, many years, and it is the right thing to do."

MORE: Here is new item from the White House under the headlined "President Donald J. Trump Calls on Congress to Pass the FIRST STEP Act." Here are excerpts, with a few especially notable passages emphasized by me:

CALLING FOR BIPARTISAN ACTION: President Donald J. Trump is calling on Congress to take action and support the bipartisan prison reform legislation, the FIRST STEP Act. 

  • President Trump supports the FIRST STEP Act, which will help improve our Nation’s criminal justice system.
  • The FIRST STEP Act enjoys widespread support across the political spectrum.
    • Many of the reforms included in this legislation passed the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 360–59 in May 2018.
    • Republicans and Democrats in the Senate worked with the White House to craft a bipartisan sentencing reform compromise, which has been added to the legislation.
    • So far, seven major police organizations, more than 2,700 faith and evangelical leaders, and hundreds of conservative organizations and leaders support this legislation.

MAKING AMERICA SAFER AND FAIRER: The FIRST STEP Act will reform America’s prisons to make our communities safer and our justice system fairer.

  • Nearly all incarcerated Americans will one day leave prison, and the goal of this legislation is to make sure they do not return.
    • The FIRST STEP Act uses a targeted approach toward a specific population of Federal prisoners who will eventually be released.
  • The FIRST STEP Act will promote prisoner participation in vocational training, educational coursework, or faith-based programs, and in turn help them successfully reenter society.
    • Prisoners will be able to earn credits that reduce the amount of time spent in prison.
    • As a result, prisoners will gain job skills, drug treatment, and education that prepare them to reenter American communities as productive members of society.
    • The legislation also seeks to place Federal inmates closer to their communities in order to facilitate family visitation.
  • This is a true first step in creating a fairer justice system by reforming mandatory minimums, which have created racially discriminatory outcomes and increased overcrowding and costs.
    • The legislation reduces the enhanced penalties for certain non-violent repeat drug offenders and eliminates the three-strike mandatory life provision.
    • Certain nonviolent offenders will be able to petition courts for a review of their sentence, which can be reduced only after the judge reviews all circumstances, including public safety, criminal history, and the nature of the offense.

IMPROVING THE PRISON SYSTEM: Taking steps to better prepare inmates for reentry into our society and communities will help reduce recidivism.

  • We can improve society for all by better equipping prisoners being released for successful reintegration into society.
  • Today, one in three American adults has some type of criminal record and more than two million Americans are in prisons, including 181,000 in Federal prison.
    • More than 95% of these prisoners will eventually leave prison and face the challenge of restarting and reintegrating their lives.
  • Our prisons can do much more to prepare inmates for release, addressing the fact that roughly 77% of State inmates and 38% of Federal inmates are rearrested within five years of release. 

November 14, 2018 at 04:25 PM | Permalink


The Washington Post states: "Senators have also added language that would bar prisoners who had been convicted of certain fentanyl offenses — primarily those that involved five- and 10-year mandatory minimums — from being able to receive credit for time served."

Do they mean you can't get credit for pretrial detention if you have been convicted of certain fentanyl offenses? Do we do that for certain offenses? I wasn't sure if there might be some other form of credit they might be referencing in the article.

Here's the article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-endorses-bipartisan-criminal-justice-reform-bill/2018/11/14/9be8f926-e84c-11e8-bd89-eecf3b178206_story.html?utm_term=.b93eba7b47b7

Posted by: Adam Kolber | Nov 15, 2018 8:52:58 AM

I am pretty sure it is a reference, Adam, to the new time off for participating in recidivism-reduction programming. The current bill appears to carve out all sorts of offenders made "ineligible" to earn credits including lots of violent and sex offenders and a number of other (the list runs to roman number xlix, which I think is 49).

Posted by: Doug B | Nov 15, 2018 9:45:22 AM

That makes more sense. Thanks! (Oh, and that article challenging retributivism two posts up sounds interesting. Much appreciated!)

Posted by: Adam Kolber | Nov 15, 2018 11:05:17 AM


Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 15, 2018 2:47:17 PM

Through the promotion of prisoner vocational training, what viable career programs or training will be available for inmates to participate in that results in a living wage position? Also, what assistance will be available to help inmates navigate around the "have you been in jail question;" and "what tools are available to professionals to educate employers hiring someone who made a a bad decision benefits their organization?" I am a person who tries to maintain an awareness of changes in legal landscape and societal changes to programs disadvantaged individuals may access to manage periods of hardship. I am employed as a human services professional.

Posted by: Demetrius Banks | Nov 17, 2018 1:04:43 AM

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