Durbin, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Advance the First Step Act's Goals
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the lead sponsors of the landmark First Step Act (FSA), introduced the bipartisan First Step Implementation Act, legislation that aims to further implement the FSA and advance its goals. The First Step Act is bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation designed to make our justice system fairer and our communities safer by reforming sentencing laws and providing opportunities for those who are incarcerated to prepare to reenter society successfully.
“In 2018, Congress came together to pass the most important criminal justice reform laws in a generation. The First Step Act passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities and was supported by a broad coalition of conservative and progressive groups alike,” Durbin said. “I was proud to champion this landmark legislation with my friend and colleague, Senator Grassley. Now we are committed to working together on a bipartisan basis to ensure that the First Step Act and its goals are successfully implemented.”
“Our 2018 criminal justice reforms were the most significant in a generation. We ought to be doing all we can to ensure their proper implementation. This new bill now also ensures we make good on the intent of the First Step Act, and further builds on the ideas that led to its passage,” Grassley said.
The First Step Implementation Act of 2021 would further the goals of the FSA by:
- Allowing courts to apply the FSA sentencing reform provisions to reduce sentences imposed prior to the enactment of the FSA;
- Broadening the safety valve provision to allow courts to sentence below a mandatory minimum for nonviolent controlled substance offenses, if the court finds the defendant’s criminal history over-represents the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal record and the likelihood of recidivism;
- Allowing courts to reduce sentences imposed on juvenile offenders who have served more than 20 years;
- Providing for the sealing or expungement of records of nonviolent juvenile offenses; and,
- Requiring the Attorney General to establish procedures ensuring that only accurate criminal records are shared for employment-related purposes.
The legislation is endorsed by the following organizations: American Conservative Union, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Dream Corps JUSTICE, Drug Policy Alliance, Due Process Institute, FAMM, Federal Public and Community Defenders, Human Rights for Kids, Justice Action Network, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition, Prison Fellowship, and R Street Institute.
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