Monday, December 3, 2018

PROS and CONS: First Step Act

Sen Tom Cotton: What’s Really in Congress’s Justice-Reform Bill:
The bad outweighs the good.
It remains to be seen whether the lame-duck 115th Congress will debate a sweeping overhaul of our federal criminal-justice system before we adjourn for the year. You may have heard about the legislation at hand, the FIRST STEP Act. I oppose it. I urge my fellow conservatives to take the time to read and understand the bill before signing on in support of this flawed legislation.
The 103-page bill that was released the Friday before Thanksgiving has some good parts, and I don’t question the intentions of the bill’s proponents. But you may have noticed that they talk more about their intentions than about the consequences of the bill. As conservatives, we know that good intentions say little about actual consequences. And to paraphrase Thomas Sowell, intellectuals who generate ideas with good intentions rarely have to face the consequences of those ideas personally.
When proponents of the bill discuss the substance, they claim that “nothing in the FIRST STEP Act gives inmates early release.” Instead of early release, proponents say, it merely provides incentives for inmates to participate in programs. This is nothing but a euphemism. Let there be no doubt: If the bill is passed, thousands of federal offenders, including violent felons and sex offenders, will be released earlier than they would be under current law. Whatever word games the bill’s proponents use will make no difference to the future victims of these felons.
Proponents also claim that only “low-level, non-violent” offenders will benefit, and that there are adequate safeguards to protect the public. If I believed these assertions, I would support the FIRST STEP Act. But a careful reading of the bill’s text, as opposed to the talking points used to promote it, shows that violent felons are eligible for early release, and that many of the bill’s provisions go against core conservative principles.
Read the rest from Tom Cotton HERE.

Sen Mike Lee: The Truth about the FIRST STEP Act
Tom Cotton’s criticisms of the bill do not survive scrutiny.
As a former federal prosecutor, I am clear-eyed about crime. Unlike some reformers, I don’t think our justice system is fundamentally broken, unjust, or corrupt. I have nothing but respect for law-enforcement officials, who put themselves in danger every single day in order to protect the public. I know from experience that dangerous criminals exist — individuals who are incapable of or uninterested in rehabilitation and change. We should throw the book at those people.
But my time as a prosecutor also tells me that not every criminal is dangerous or incapable of living a productive life. My faith as a Christian teaches me that many people are capable of redemption. And my instincts as a conservative make me believe that the government can be reformed to work better. For those reasons, I believe the FIRST STEP Act is legislation that deserves the support of all conservatives.
It deals primarily with time credits that federal inmates can use to secure their transfer from prison to pre-release custody — meaning home confinement, supervised release, or a halfway house. The bill clarifies that most prisoners can earn up to 54 days of credit per year if they “display exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations.” This is a modest change from existing law, which has been interpreted to allow 47 days of good-time credits per year. In addition, the bill creates a new credit for participating in recidivism-reduction programs or other productive activities that facilitate reentry into society.
Read the rest from Mike Lee HERE.

Follow link below to The Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz view:

Stop calling it prison reform. It’s a prison RELEASE bill

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