For the first time in quite a while, the US Congress actually agreed to pass a bill. The name of the bill is called the First Step Act. This bill will hopefully be the catalyst for future bills in the area of jail reform. Although prison is not supposed to be a walk in the park, new methods must be implemented in order to solve the problem of overcrowded jails. Although the United States of America claims to be the most civilized country in the world, the USA has the highest percentage rate of incarceration at .65%.
Let’s take a look and see if the First Step Act is actually a first step at prison reform. Here are some important keys in this bill.
1. Prisoners that are deemed to be low-risk and that choose to take part in recidivism reduction programs in jail will be given certain incentives such as phone, email, and visitation privileges, the ability to move to a prison closer to his or her residence, and increased limits on commissary.
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2. Prisoners that complete the recidivism reduction program will receive a time credit of 10 days per every 30 days spent in prison. For example, if a person finishes the program after being incarcerated for one year, then that person will have four months taken off of his or her total prison time.
3. Prisons that do not have recidivism reduction programs must be implemented within six months. Any program that is faith-based will not be discriminated against.
Although these three keys may not seem to be that significant, this reform is actually a first step to what can eventually become a staircase. The prisoners that actually choose to better themselves will be rewarded. The people that run the prisons will now be held accountable for establishing more programs that will help to prevent a first-time offender from becoming a repeat offender. Third, people should not care where they receive their help from because the ultimate goal is to further the progress of mankind.
To read the bill for yourself, check out this link.
Sources: Congress.gov, CNN.com. Pic is from Pixabay.com.