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What’s in Trump’s Prison Reform Bill?

If you remember all of the hubbub when Kanye West visited the White House, you might not be surprised to see what is happening now. Kanye’s main goal was to try and convince Trump to push harder for prison reform, and it seems he had success. Trump has been a fan of this new bill for a while, but he has moved it up the priority list. Today, you can see what is in the bill and what the fight is all about.

The First Step Act

This is a bill that would make some big changes to prison law. Trump has been pushing it for a while now, and it’s currently stalled in Congress. If passed, it would be the most significant prison reform since the start of the war on drugs in the 80s. There’s a lot in the bill, but there are a few key elements that are easy to summarize.

The biggest issue is mandatory sentencing. The First Step Act aims to reduce mandatory sentences for nonviolent offences. There’s a good reason for this. Roughly 46 percent of current inmates are serving for nonviolent crimes. A big chunk of those crimes relate to drug use — including marijuana. Since harsh prison sentences don’t seem to have reduced drug use after 30 years of trying, it might be time for a change.

The other big change in the First Step Act is designed to improve job training for inmates. The goal is to improve rehabilitation rates and get ex-convicts working and productive when their sentences are completed.

The new bill holds the potential to significantly reduce the current prison population without going easy on the worst and most dangerous criminals in our society.

The Current Battle

There’s an important thing you need to remember as you keep reading. This bill has already made it through the House. That’s a House that is deeply controlled by the GOP (at least until January). We’ll get into this more in a minute, but hold onto that fact.

As of now, the bill is stalled in the Senate. Mitch McConnell has delayed voting on it because he has higher priorities. Additionally, there is still a lack of evidence that the bill would get the 60 votes needed to pass. Several Senators are vying to have the bill go through committee in order to better dissect it and possibly tweak it.

In the meantime, Trump himself and Lindsey Graham are fighting to get a vote before the end of the year. They want one last win for the GOP before the change of power in the House. If they delay, House Democrats could stall the bill and put everything back to square one. Graham is convinced the Republicans can sway enough Democrats to get the bill through the Senate and see the first real prison reform in decades.

Whining vs Action

This brings us to the key point. This bill is in danger of dying because the Democrats are unlikely to support it. A couple of Republicans might also be against it, but for the most part, it has massive support from the GOP. This is a huge divergence from the narrative you’ve been hearing. Democrats have screamed for prison reform for years. They say that the current system is unfair to minorities. It seems like a good way to win votes from people who have loved ones in the system.

That’s just it, though. The Democrats had control of the House, a supermajority in the Senate and the presidency rather recently. Not a single scrap of prison reform was passed. In fact, there was never even a full bill. Obama instead decided that unilateral mass pardoning was the better solution.

And, this is really what it’s all about. The left says things to get votes. Contrary to that, the right does things. Mitch McConnell needs to put this on the floor for one big reason (besides the potential for positive reform): it will put the true colors of the Democrats on full, public display. Will they back their talk and actually pass a bill they’ve been claiming to want for decades, or will they oppose it just because it came from the Republicans?

You already know the answer. The Democrats already have the power to stonewall this bill. Don’t give them a free pass. Make them do it with the whole country watching.


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268 Responses

  1. Whatever President Trump has in mind we need to consider. From someone who is versed in this situation I believe that the Democrats need to back President Trump in some kind of reform. We need better programs upon release. We need to look at nonviolent offenders and their past and deal with them on a one-to-one basis. You cannot generalize what the president wants to do. Every case is different and should be dealt with so. Violent offenders are right where they should be. But take marijuana for example it’s everything but legal in most of the states that are with the X. There are far too many inmates locked up for minor marijuana charges that the taxpayers are picking up the tab for. If most people new what it actually cost 2 house and feed each individual inmate they would be astonished. The problem is the people in Congress are not regular people like you and me. Most people live paycheck-to-paycheck. Members of Congress make up words of $174,000 a year so a few taxes aren’t going to change their lifestyle. Besides it seems to me like all the Democrats are interested in is going against everything President Trump is trying to do and has already accomplished which is quite a bit. That’s all the time I have I have to go to work. I live paycheck to paycheck. So are you self entitled democratic Congress people get off your asses and try working together with the Republicans to bring this country back together. All you’re doing is tearing it apart. This is the worst I’ve seen this country in my 60 years. I don’t know why I’m wasting my time nothing ever changes. I wish I had it in my power to change things. Your head would spin.

    1. Me too ! I agree with you! It seems like the Republicans are willing to work bipartisan more than the Democrats! So far all i’v Seen from Democrats is Fraud ! I don’t believe they won the house without cheating !

    2. We have no Article III courts in America, they have been supplanted by admiralty/maritime courts. We need to bring back the court to the peoples courts. The current courts are controlled by judges and lawyers, not the people. Learn the Common Law on http://www.nationallibertyalliance.org

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  3. I agree. Prison reform needs to be made and the three strikes rule need to abolished

  4. Will common sense prevail or the usual blind bickering partisanship that the Democrats and RINO’s are apt to adhere ….

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