President Trump signs criminal justice reform First Step Act into law
(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Trump signs criminal justice reform First Step Act into law

President Donald Trump signed on Friday the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill aimed at reducing recidivism and refining sentencing laws and harsh penalties.

The US Senate approved the Act Tuesday with a vote of 87 to 12, and the House signed it Thursday 358-36.

The bill expands in-prison and post-release employment programming, includes components related to alternatives to prison for low-risk prisoners such as home confinement, prohibits restraints on pregnant prisoners, and mandates evidence-based treatment for opioid and heroin abuse, among others.

The bill revises the Controlled Substances Act’s harsh drug penalties, including a lowering of the “three strikes” rule for drug felons that had sent them to life in prison, now down to 25 years, and it changes the two or more felonies within the rule from any “felony drug offense” to “a serious drug felony or serious violent felony,” defined in the text of the bill.

“The First Step Act will help prepare inmates to successfully rejoin society and enact commonsense sentencing reforms to make our justice system fairer for all Americans,” said a White House statement.