12.19.18

Sen. Coons, colleagues celebrate passage of major, bipartisan criminal justice reform

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and an original cosponsor of the revised First Step Act, tonight celebrated the passage of this bipartisan legislation in the Senate to reduce recidivism, improve fairness, and promote safety in the criminal justice system. The revised First Step Act has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and was cosponsored by more than a third of the Senate.

“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 decades, our system has focused too much on criminalization and incarceration and too little on justice and rehabilitation,” said Senator Coons. “I was proud to partner with my colleagues to craft legislation that would make the criminal justice system fairer, and I look forward to seeing President Trump sign the First Step Act into law.”

The comprehensive, revised First Step Act aims to reduce crime by helping low-risk inmates prepare to successfully rejoin society through participation in proven recidivism reduction and professional development programs.  It also improves fairness in prison sentences by recalibrating certain mandatory minimum sentences, granting greater discretion for judges in sentencing of low-level, nonviolent drug crimes, and clarifying congressional intent on sentencing enhancements for certain crimes involving firearms.  The legislation also allows petitions for retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act to be considered on an individual basis to reduce sentence disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses.

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Press Contact

Sean Coit at 202-224-5042 orSean_Coit@coons.senate.gov