The First Step Act
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Facts matter. Rhetoric cannot withstand knowledge and scrutiny. Here’s what you need to know about the First Step Act:
- The First Step Act (FSA) is a landmark, bipartisan achievement implementing incentivized programs to reduce recidivism. It does not arbitrarily allow violent offenders out of prison early.
- Good Time Conduct is not a creation of the First Step Act but was written into the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In 2018, FSA clarified a longstanding misinterpretation that led to some receiving only 47 instead of 54 days each year.
- Individuals who receive credit under the FSA programming are not immediately released. They go into pre-release custody followed by more than 4 years of supervision on average.
- For all federal prisoners, recidivism hovers around a disappointing 43%. A 2023 BOP report on the First Step Act shows recidivism of 12.4% for FSA releases. This is an incredible feat that should be championed and replicated not criticized.
- To understand the success of the First Step Act, talk to any of the thousands of Americans, many of whom were serving decades in prison for first-time drug offenses, who were released back to their families and are now taxpaying citizens.
- The First Step Act gives individuals goals while improving themselves and preparing to come home. 95% of everyone incarcerated is eventually released into our communities. Rehabilitative programming improves public safety.