11 December, 2018 9:40 AM

Response to The Senate Majority Leader’s Announcement of a vote on The First Step Act

Jessica Jackson, Co-founder & National Director, #cut50

“This is a MAJOR breakthrough in the long-fought battle for criminal justice reform. We are closer than we have been in a decade to passing robust criminal justice legislation in Congress, and one step closer to justice and relief for nearly 200,000 people in federal prisons and their families.

We would not be here today without the support of formerly incarcerated people, those who have had loved ones in prisons, and survivors of crime. This bill was shaped by their expertise and their experiences.

People impacted by the justice system have made multiple visits to the White House, dozens of lobbying trips to Capitol Hill, and hosted rallies in districts across the country. These efforts helped build support for the transformative changes to the Federal Bureau of Prisons proposed in the First Step Act. We are grateful to the 200+ organizations and leaders who have joined us in supporting this bill and are helping us get it across the finish line.

We are disappointed in some of the concessions made to appease the minority of GOP members who expressed concerns about this bill. We firmly believe that nobody should be excluded from the Earned Time Credits provisions, which are incentives to participate in programming, vocational training, and education - all of which will help reduce crime. But this is clearly a compromise bill, and it is just the first step toward fixing the many broken pieces of our federal justice system. The broad-based bipartisan support for these policies - in the halls of Congress and in states across the country - show that this first step will undoubtedly be followed by many more."