Austin, TX — Today, thirty prominent Texas conservative leaders sent a letter to Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn urging them to support the FIRST STEP Act, which would provide reentry programming to help reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and give those incarcerated a second chance once they have paid their debt to society. The legislation passed the House of Representatives on May 22nd and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
The letter, organized by Right on Crime and signed by conservative leaders and state legislators engaged in criminal justice reform, states:
“Now, Washington, D.C. has another opportunity to learn from the Texas experience by passing the FIRST STEP Act, which would bring some of the reforms that have cut crime and costs in Texas to the federal prison system. We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation that reveived 360 votes in the House, including the entire Texas GOP delegation and all but two of the entire Republican Caucus.”
It goes on to highlight the results of criminal justice reforms implemented in Texas:
“Texas has closed 8 prisons and achieved a reduction of more than 20% in its incarceration rate. Most importantly, over the last decade, Texas has seen its crime rate fall by more than 30%, reaching its lowest level since 1967.”
It closes by saying:
“We know that some 40,000 people will be released this year from federal prison to live near our families. Many of them will not have completed programs that could have reduced the reisk they post to society and improved their chances of holding jobs. We encourage you to support the FIRST STEP Act so that the federal prison system can follow Texas in recognizing that public safety demands that we not simply warehouse, but actually rehabilitate the thousands of prisoners that will be reentering our society.”
The full text of the letter is available here.
Right on Crime is a national campaign of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with the American Conservative Union Foundation and Prison Fellowship, that supports conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs. The movement was born in Texas in 2005, and in recent years, dozens of states such as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, have led the way in implementing conservative criminal justice reforms.
Right on Crime has the support and works to mobilize the voices of more than ninety prominent conservative leaders who have endorsed the principles of conservative criminal justice reform, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Right on Crime spokespersons, please contact Caroline Espinosa at (703) 589-4597 or [email protected]