Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is co-leading a bipartisan group of 38 state attorneys general around the nation who are supporting criminal justice reform in the federal prison system.
The coalition has sent a letter, which Bondi co-authored, asking legislative leaders in Congress to fully consider criminal justice reforms like those contained in the First Step Act.
“I am proud to co-sponsor this letter supporting a true bipartisan compromise concerning much needed prison reform in our country. The First Step Act will keep so many individuals from returning to prison and help them lead productive lives,” Bondi said in a press statement Thursday.
The First Step Act, a package of criminal-justice-reform proposals endorsed by President Donald Trump, is considered anything but “soft” on crime. In fact, it's tough on injustice and -- as Michelle Malkin, host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com, says -- it's about time.
What it does, Malkin explains, is confront the enormous failure of the federal government’s trillion-dollar war on drugs by reforming mandatory minimum sentences, "rectifying unscientifically grounded disparities in criminal penalties for crack versus powder cocaine, and tackling recidivism among federal inmates through risk assessment, earned-time-credit incentive structures, reentry programs, and transitional housing."
Not all inmates are eligible to earn recidivism reduction. The bill lists 50 offenses, conviction for which disqualifies inmates from participation. The remaining inmates are eligible only if they are determined to be a minimum or low recidivism risk by the warden of their facility, based on data-based standards developed by the attorney general and an independent commission. For eligible inmates, the warden will individually tailor the type and amount of recidivism-reduction programming and productive activities.
The coalition's letter explains that many states have experienced success through state criminal justice reforms similar to those in the First Step Act. The First Step Act would create programs that incentivize federal inmates to participate in recidivism-reducing programs including vocational training and academic courses. The act would also put more tools in the hands of prosecutors.
“This legislation provides additional tools and flexibility to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, better equipping our correctional system to ensure that people coming back into our communities are prepared to do so as responsible citizens who do not pose a risk to our communities,” Bondi and other attorneys general wrote in the letter to Congress.
View a copy of the letter here.
Bondi shares credit for the letter with the attorneys general from the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Texas and Utah.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith