At a time when Congress, the White House, and the nation seem hopelessly divided, there is one critical, even difficult issue on which many Republicans and Democrats, conservative and progressive groups, and President Trump agree: criminal justice reform.
The American criminal justice system is broken, and it has been for a long time. The mass incarceration explosion resulting from the “war on drugs” and “tough on crime” policies of the last four decades has left us with prisons that are overcrowded and costly and inmates that are often unfairly sentenced and forgotten.
For too long, our system has focused too much on criminalization and incarceration and too little on justice and rehabilitation.
Recognizing the urgent need to address this disparity, a remarkable bipartisan coalition in Congress has worked together for several years to craft legislation that would make the criminal justice system fairer, and now, we’re ready to vote on the bill and have the president sign it into law.
In the Senate, I partnered with colleagues including Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to include key sentencing provisions in a prison reform bill that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year. The Senate compromise bill, the revised First Step Act of 2018, recognizes that reducing recidivism is important, but it’s not enough. Our bill acknowledges the need to do more on the front end to reduce the number of people going to prison and the amount of time they spend incarcerated.
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