6 Things To Know About Trump’s New Prison Reform Law

Pres. Donald J. Trump earned another significant legislative win as the Senate passed a prison reform package 87-12 that heads back to the House where it is expected to gain quick approval. It is likely to mark his second significant legislative achievement following the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 and his first social justice reform policy win.

The 11th-hour bipartisan vote has been rushed due to the anticipation that Nancy Pelosi will retake the House speakership and block the measure on resist and obstruct grounds. Pelosi and Pres. Trump are at odds over border security, immigration and the far-left Democrat has worked against Pres. Trump’s agenda, even when it proved beneficial for her constituents.

That being said, the First Step Act has been hailed as a major accomplishment in curbing excessive sentencing that has disproportionately impacted African-Americans. These are items Americans can expect from federal criminal justice reform under the First Step Act.

1: Inmates Get Incentives For Rehab

The U.S. Attorney General will reportedly be required to create a “Risk and Needs System” in less than seven months designed to help prisoners work toward a successful transition into society. Those who participate earn incentives that include the following:

  • Phone privileges
  • Relocation to a facility closer to family members
  • Increased email access
  • Increased visitation time

Inmates can also accumulate credit toward halfway house placement or home confinement. However, violent and dangerous offenders will not be eligible for participation.

2: Pregnant Convicts May Be Exempt From Restraints

This is a controversial part of the First Step Act because it removes the ability of correctional officers to handcuff or otherwise restrain agitated pregnant prisoners in many instances. Corrections official may cuff aggressive females under certain circumstances using the “least restrictive means” available. Corrections officers are also tasked with reporting any restraints used to the Bureau of Prisons.

3: Sentencing Reform Rights Clinton-Era Wrongs
This is the portion of the measure that received the most bipartisan support and would curb the excessive sentencing that began with the so-called “three strikes” laws under now-disgraced Pres. Clinton. The First Step Act focuses on reducing mandatory minimums from 20 to 15 years for crimes deemed a “serious drug felony.” It also vacates the life sentences of so-called “three strikes” offenders to 25 years. Thousands of inmates have been given mandatory life sentences since the Clinton-era rules. The new law would also allow judges greater sentencing discretion for non-violent offenders. Called the “safety valve” in legal circles, the increased judicial latitude applies to people with no more than one prior conviction among other limitations.

In terms of social justice, African-Americans were disproportionately sentenced for crack cocaine possession and distribution over powder cocaine offenders. This has long been viewed as a socio-economic bias that was pushed through during the Clinton Administration. Pres. Obama balanced sentencing between crack and powder cocaine in 2010. Pres. Trump’s First Step Act would open the door for crack cocaine convicts to petition the court for reduced sentences. In effect, the new law retroactively rights the wrong of excessive sentencing against African-Americans.

4: Increased Home Confinement Will Unburden Taxpayers

One of the items that Pres. Trump refers to on a regular basis is the high cost of incarceration to American taxpayers. The annual cost has reportedly risen to upwards of $81 billion for prisons alone and $182 billion when the full spectrum of the system is tallied.

The new law would open the door for low-risk, non-violent offenders to spend as much as 10 percent or a maximum of 6 months in home confinement. The bill also enacts compassion measures that include:

  • Mandatory family notification and visit within seven days of a terminal illness diagnosis.
  • Compassionate release request review with 14 days of terminal illness diagnosis.

The First Step Act also re-implements compassionate release under the Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program that was used from 2009-2010. The 65-year-old threshold has also been reduced to 60 under the guidelines after two-thirds of a sentence has been completed.

5: Treatment Of Opioid Addiction Addressed

The president furthers his war on the opioid crisis by tasking the Bureau of Prisons with submitting a report on evidence-based treatment programs they have in place. The Bureau has been resistant to using medically appropriate treatment despite proven effectiveness. They must prove their case and provide adequate addiction treatment methods going forward.

6: First Step Act Not A Final Solution

Although the legislation earned substantial bipartisan support, it is widely viewed by both parties and the White House as a bridge to further criminal justice reform. Many members of Congress and the president view the measure as a “first step” to reducing the high incarceration rates in the U.S.

~ Conservative Zone


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11 responses to “6 Things To Know About Trump’s New Prison Reform Law”

  1. I think this is one of the.most ridiculous laws I’ve seen. If your not a criminal and don’t break our laws you wouldn’t be there in the first place. Don’t break any laws and you won’t go to jail its that easy. If anything make the prisons even worse so people dont want to end up there.

    • bruce conkin ; Reform is what prison is supposed to be and releasing society capable convicts as self sustaining humans that obey laws and support themselves with work & integrity … The 2nd time prison term is a no chance sentence & these ex-cons have to be informed when released the 1st time that they will be prevented release into law abiding society ! Justice has to prevail for the protection of law abiding citizens .. ! Execution for premeditated murder has to be mandatory so taxed U.S. Citizens are not feeding the no reform stench of convicted murderers !

  2. Those of you who do not like this had better think about yourself . This is a good start program , With the politically correct society we are living in now you could end up in prison among murderers . Apparently some of you have never had to come up against big money . Gen Flynn is one . You will take the guilty plea because you will not have the funds to fight Like the Gen he lost his home and everything he owns plus now has 4 million in legal fees. Imagine if he had a public defender. Years ago you could get 25 years for processing marijuana. Something that been made legal now . And murderers get out in 5 years .

  3. A good start to reform. Now let us be more able to censer attorneys engaging in questionable behavior and/or overly aggressive bringing of charges. It is evident that too many attorneys are just trying to bring
    charges based upon political agendas and/or personal attention for the furthering of their own careers.
    Likewise, we need an easier path to impeach and remove judges who are over-turned 3 times (3 strikes and you are out). This may prevent many judges from issuing purely political opinions and rulings.
    Thirdly, when the constitution framers set up the 3 branches of government, they could not conceive that the Supremes would live to such old ages. Surely, there needs to be a limit on their terms when they become too old to
    function effectively and rationally and stay awake during cases brought
    before the court. As a first suggestion, let us say 81 is old enough, then retirement is mandatory.

  4. This is a small start of what needs to be completely rethought. When you are a target of Federal Prosecutors, you have the Federal Government with unlimited budget trying to prosecute you and they take all of your assets so you can’t fund competent representation. The prosecutors receive benefits (money and promotion) based on success so they try to keep you broke and get you to plea to something so they can show how successful they are. There is nothing fair about the federal prosecution process. All cards are stacked against you and the whole scheme is to get a conviction for something to promote careers. There needs to be a lot more reform and some way to balance the system so federal prosecutors are punished for any violation of fair treatment. The accused is not presumed innocent by the Feds but a presumption of guilt and they work hard to prove it by any means available.. The work of the special prosecutor is a good example of this.

  5. It is a start, but reintegration into any community after incarceration is a major problem. There is a lady in Kentucky who wants to get jobs for these people, and pay them for the first six months, while involving them in a program to really reintegrate and rehabilitate them. God bless her. I pray she will someday be able to obtain funding for her program to become a reality.

  6. Agree with Daniel. Have a friend in that situation right now. Evidence and cameras show his innocents but they are trying to hide it and run him out of money .

  7. I would much rather see our Justice system put Hillary, Comey,Weissmann, Rosenstein, McCabe,Clapper, Brennan,Holder, Podesta, Rice, Mills,Strzok, Ohr, Obama in jail and clean our filthy justice system, and government employees who have raped us for decades.The cases are made by Gregg Jarrett in his book “The Russian Hoax,and Dan Bongino’s book Spygate both have enough documentation to indict the entire rotten bunch. why is this dying and why isn’t Trump releasing all the documents unredacted the Congress under Jordan,Gowdy and Meadows?

  8. I feel that this should be mannatory for both federal and state prison . State prisons are getting by with no medical , nasty food , prisons falling apart , very abusive guards, what some of them call the red ass itch breaking out all over their bodies , beating inmates stabbing , and framing inmates and getting by with it , over sentencing during inprisoment and even after they get out , judges telling you that he will make sure you never go home to your family which lives in another state, the drugs . I thought nation reform was meant for all prisons ,guess they feel they live in different country . The whole prison system needs cleaned up and some even cleaned out . After all state prisons receive federal money why wouldnt they fall under federal guidelines lines ?????? Florida needs a complete take down giving 10 and 30 years in prison for what’s suppose to be 5 year sentence , then all the gps charges , probation charges , parole charges there is no way one can come out and make it , for the inmate to pay for all that’s added to them years after being released. I call this triple dipping yet they get by with it .Plus they don’t get all that miss jones says they have to rehab back to the outside world , so much is covered up within those walls of hell and torture and the doc knows it , but turns their heads for to much easy money involved for them to stir the pot . God please watch over the inmates in those prisons til the Federal Government intervenes .

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