On Friday, President Donald Trump and members of his administration joined the nation's criminal justice leaders for a half-day Prison Reform Summit at the White House. The event brought formerly incarcerated leaders, elected officials and advocates from both sides of the aisle together with federal government officials to build support for the bipartisan movement to fix America's prison system.
Despite all the hyper-partisanship and gridlock in Washington, Congress is finally making progress on a crucial issue that affects millions of Americans.
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee decided to advance
the Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act ("FIRST STEP Act"
), a bill that would expand incentives in federal prison to pursue the life-changing and skill-building classes that prepare men and women to leave prison job ready. The committee's vote to advance the bill wasn't just bipartisan -- it was overwhelmingly so, by a vote of 25-5.
It should come as no surprise that members of Congress were able to come together on this. The House Judiciary has been focused
on criminal justice reform in a bipartisan fashion for a few years now. In 2015, #cut50, Koch Industries, the Coalition for Public Safety and others hosted a Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform
, which brought 13 members of Congress, three Republican Governors, and members of the Obama administration together to craft an agenda for bipartisan reforms in Congress and the states.