Houston Matters

Texas Policy Makers Praise “First Step Act” A Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Bill

The First Step Act say it would overhaul criminal justice. Some Texas policy leaders are praising the U.S. Senate’s passage of a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill.

Sen. John Cornyn, and former state attorney general and state supreme court justice, say they modeled their approach at an overhaul on former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s efforts to reduce the state’s prison population.

Some Texas policy leaders are praising the U.S. Senate’s passage of a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. Supporters of the First Step Act say it would overhaul federal prisons and reduce recidivism rates. 

Judges will have more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts as well as to create housing or other incentives for offenders to participate in recidivism reduction programs.

The bill’s intention is for the Justice Department to establish a system to assess the risk of a person to re-offend and to save on federal incarceration spending and prepare inmates for re-entry into society. Sen. John Cornyn, and former state attorney general and state supreme court justice, say they modeled their approach at an overhaul on former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s efforts to reduce the state’s prison population. Fellow Texas Republican, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, also voted for the legislation.

The bipartisan measure aims to overhaul federal prisons and reduce recidivism rates. The U.S. House is expected to take up the bill in the coming days, and, with the president’s support, it’s on the verge of becoming law. 

In the audio above Derek Cohen, Director for the Center of Effective Justice and Right on Crime tells Houston Matters’ Maggie Martin why the group supports the measure. 

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