First Step Act approved by vote of 87-12
“It’s been several decades since Congress made significant reforms to our nation’s criminal justice and prison policies. The First Step Act takes lessons from history and from states – our laboratories of democracy – to reduce crime, save taxpayer dollars and strengthen faith and fairness in our criminal justice system. Today’s vote is an important victory in our years-long effort, which has resulted in a broad bipartisan recognition of the need for reforms. This bill is the product of careful deliberation and input from a wide range of stakeholders and law enforcement organizations. I’m grateful for the engagement from those who joined us to pass the bill and for President Trump’s leadership. I look forward to the swift passage of the First Step Act by the House,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said.
“Tonight, by a vote of 87-12 the members of the Senate proved that we can work together for the good of our nation. Passage of the First Step Act is the most significant change to our system of criminal justice in decades. It was supported by an amazing coalition of unlikely partners – progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans, law enforcement groups and civil rights groups, business leaders and faith-based organizations. By passing this legislation, we will now begin to relieve our overcrowded prisons, redirect funding to our most pressing crime prevention efforts, make our communities safer, and ensure the integrity of our justice system. I commend my colleagues for their spirit of cooperation on this important piece of legislation and I look forward to seeing this legislation signed by the President,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said.
“We did it. We passed real bipartisan criminal justice reform. Thanks to the hard work of my colleagues American families will be stronger and our communities will be safer. This is a huge win for America and President Trump,” Senator Mike Lee said.
“Our country’s criminal justice system is broken – and it has been broken for decades. You cannot deny justice to any American without it affecting all Americans. That’s why the passage of the First Step Act tonight is so meaningful – it begins to right past wrongs that continue to deny justice to millions of Americans. This bill is a step forward for our criminal justice system. By no means can it be the only step – it must be the beginning of a long effort to restore justice to our justice system. But for the first time in a long time, with the passage of this bill into law, our country will make a meaningful break from the decades of failed policies that led to mass incarceration, which has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, drained our economy, compromised public safety, hurt our children, and disproportionately harmed communities of color while devaluing the very idea of justice in America,” Senator Cory Booker said.
“Today the Senate took a great step forward in building safer communities and a brighter future for those who have served their time and are re-entering society. By cutting recidivism, encouraging job training, education and mental health and substance abuse treatments for incarcerated individuals, and making our criminal justice system both smarter and tougher, we have taken a positive step forward tonight. I want to thank all of my colleagues for their hard work on this bill, and I look forward to House passage and the President enthusiastically signing the First Step Act into law,” Senator Tim Scott said.
“This bill is the product of years of bipartisan hard work, patience, and strong advocacy by Rhode Islanders and people across the country, including those who have gone through the system themselves. Senator Cornyn and I drew on our home states’ success in helping low-risk inmates return to society, stay out of trouble, and contribute to their community. The bill will also address serious issues with sentencing practices that land too many people in prison for too long. Thank you to the Rhode Islanders who contributed to this bill, and to my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who joined me in this effort,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said.