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October 21, 2019

Rounding up various accountings of FIRST STEP Act implementation realities

Today marks exactly 10 months since President Trump signed the FIRST STEP Act into law.  As noted in posts here and here, last week brought the first oversight hearing on the law in Congress. Perhaps because of that hearing, I have recently seen a number of press pieces and commentary discussing FIRST STEP implementation, and here is a round up:

From Filter by Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard, "The Consequences of an Incompetent First Step Act Rollout"

From the Providence Journal, "He was released early from prison in February. Now hes wanted for a murder on Federal Hill"

From the Providence Journal, "Nephew of Providence murder victim: Don't blame First Step Act"

From The Hill by Arthur Rizer and Emily Mooney, "Don't give up on the First Step Act"

From the Washington Times by Brett Tolman, "First Step Act is working, but the criminal justice system is still broken"

From The Crime Report by Ted Gest, "White House Pledges Hard Work on First Step Act"

October 21, 2019 at 09:18 AM | Permalink


I am actually writing an article on the First Step Act and the con job on the American public. I am preparing for the onslaught of another round of propaganda for the one year anniversary. Look who has benefited the most. Van Jones and Jessica Sloan Jackson have parlayed their leading roles in working for Reform Alliance and employed by 5 billionaires. Pat Nolan has been pardoned. And all the other real criminals who exploit all of us who suffer in and out of the joint, Jenny Kim, Marc Levin, Mark Holden, Holly Harris, Shon Hopwood, Louis Reed, Kevin Ring, Rachel Barkow and thousands more who speak at conferences, sell books and raise millions of dollars while all the guys I served time with are all suffering and can't find employment, can't live in most places, etc, etc. And this doesn't count President Trump and Jared Kushner who are called "benevolent" by the NGO mafia in DC. And then there is Kim Kardashian, a former porn star now the face of the criminal justice movement who basically did what all the other corrupt NGO's couldn't do, help a single person with their sentence. The Act wasn't even funded until last month and you can bet your ass that people like Pat Nolan are going to get their hands on some of that $75mm through bullshit "rehabilitation or religious education". Can anyone ask Charles Koch, Jenny Kim or Mark Holden out of 110k people employed at Koch Industries how many are felons? Ask Johnny Taylor at SHRM how many he employs? These are simple questions that no one asks. But yet, I see Jenny Kim and Mark Holden getting awards for criminal justice. Kevin Ring and Shon Hopwood should be the most embarrassed as former felons themselves. Hopwood calling the First Step Act "generational reform" that not even anyone else was going to lie. And Ring, who self admittedly helped write mandatory minimum laws, now is a reformer? And Barkow, the biggest hypocrite of all, works for the US Sentencing Commission for 5 years responsible for draconian sentences, and is now invited to all these conferences to speak and selling a book as a "reformer'? The whole criminal justice reform movement has been hijacked by corrupt, narcissist, self promoting scumbag lawyers. And the First Step Act was their need, not us felons who need real help. It was and will always be a con job on the American public and the media is also mostly to blame.

Posted by: Vincent McCrudden | Oct 21, 2019 12:26:55 PM

Comments posted here by @vincentmccrudden conveniently ignore political realities in DC and fault criminal justice reform advocates—rather than policy-makers responsible for enacting the law—for the dismal state of our criminal justice system. Until the torch and pitchfork crowd assumes power, blaming the people who promote change rather than support the status quo, seems incredibly short-sighted. The lack of a more comprehensive, across-the-board reform package, are a direct reflection of problems in Congress. Not the so-called self interest of figures from the reform community. Much more certainty needs to be done. Yet Congress and the President are the only two groups with real power to make changes. Everyone else is stuck working within that system to make hard-fought changes.

Posted by: Joshua Boyer | Oct 21, 2019 2:17:18 PM

Over 7,000 people have come home early as the result of the First Step Act. Jenny and Mark will be glad to talk about all the formerly incarcerated folks who work at Koch industries and about their efforts to ban the box. Van and Jessica already had great jobs before they decided to work trying to fix our parole and probation system PRIOR to moving to REFORM. Rachel Barkow USED to work at the Sentencing Commission and has consistently worked very hard to expand federal clemency so that folks with long sentences can come home. I have no doubt that the thousands of people who came home as a result of the crack v. cocaine disparity are thrilled to be called "propaganda" from the peanut gallery.

Posted by: Joshua Hoe | Oct 28, 2019 7:30:40 AM

So, in response to Joshua Boyer. I gave him an opportunity to speak with me directly on these issues giving him my personal phone number which he obviously declined. I always respect opinions of people who have done time. First and foremost, it should be our fight, not have legal mediators making money off of our and our families suffering. In full disclosure, Joshua works with Shon Hopwood who I mentioned above. He is partners with Justin Paperny and a clown named Michael Santos who is a modern day PT Barnum. They run "Prison Professors" and other companies selling books, T-Shirts, CD's and all kinds of other crap essentially exploiting people who get jammed up. They are SUPPORTING the criminal justice machine, they aren't fighting it. For their own profit. This guy Santos trying to sell investment property in Belize t dudes just out of the joint? The guys I served time with are all struggling and don't have any money never mind looking to buy investment property in Belize. Its a fking joke man. And Shon disrespecting me and the time I did. First, I wasn't a coward and stole money from farmers, ranchers and pensioners in bumfuck Nebraska. I was accused of threatening Government officials and standing up to them. I was innocent by the way. Subsequently, I was sentenced to 10 months for helping a dude get out early under Amend. 782. Nobody had my back? But Shon disrespects me and says that Santos did more time on the toilet than I did in prison? If he doesn't respect my time for which I was innocent, how is he an advocate for anyone? He is a self promoting narcissist.
As for Joshua Hoe. Firstly, chomo's should STFU. The only reason this chomo has a platform is that he is a fking cheerleader for all those people. Secondly, the BOP just released statistics on the First Step Act. In August, they released a PR stating that they estimated that 3100 inmates would be released under the FSA this year. In October, they stated that they received 1987 petitions for early release under FSA. That is petitions, not releases. Of those 1987, over 56% of them were by three years where the inmates were sentenced under cat VI, so in all likelihood they will get reductions, but not released. In short, the 7k number is a blatant lie and regurgitated by all these liars. Why you ask? Because they don't give a fuck about us or people in the joint, and are selling themselves and promoting themselves as benevolent. The media won't allow me to have a voice and holding these hundreds of thousands or people accountable is exhausting. You can go to www.pfgr.org to read my article on the FSA. If anyone wants to debate any issues, feel free to email me at vm@pfrg.org. I am a fking warrior and waiting for the day for pitchforks and torches bitches. I know I will be alone because there are too many cowards who can criticize my voice, while they tweet or support all these lawyers who are making money off of our pain and suffering.

Posted by: Vincent McCrudden | Nov 1, 2019 11:37:21 AM

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