WASHINGTON — The Senate today passed (87-12) a revised version of the FIRST STEP Act. It is expected to pass quickly in the House of Representatives later this week.
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, had the following response:
“The Senate’s bipartisan vote to pass the FIRST STEP Act is an important, but modest step forward for justice and human dignity. But it is not the end of our fight. This bipartisan bill offers some important improvements to the current federal system, but it falls short of providing the meaningful change that is required, as we explained in a letterto the Senate. More work will be needed as we push for transformational change that will end mass incarceration in America.”
“We applaud our coalition members for their tireless work to ensure that the final bill included the vital sentencing provisions that improved the bill, Senators Durbin, Booker, Harris, Lee, and Grassley for their leadership, and the many formerly incarcerated allies and advocates who remind us that this work has real-world impact.”
Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director of the Washington Legislative Office at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following reaction:
“The FIRST STEP Act is by no means perfect. But we are in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis, and the time to act is now.”
“We applaud the bipartisan group of Senators who were willing to listen to advocates and include important sentencing reforms that will grant thousands of currently incarcerated people a second chance.”
“People’s lives are at stake. We’re delighted to see common sense prevail and the FIRST STEP move closer to the finish line.”
The Leadership Conference and the ACLU sent a joint letter of support for the FIRST STEP Act. This letter can be found here. Both organizations will score the votes on the legislation in their respective voting records for the 115thCongress.
More information about the ACLU’s position on the FIRST STEP Act can be found here:
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has worked in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect the constitutional rights of all people. With a nationwide network of offices and millions of members and supporters, we take up the toughest civil liberties fights. Beyond one person, party, or side — we the people dare to create a more perfect union. Learn more at www.aclu.org