Texas-Style Criminal Justice Package Awaits Vote in U.S. Senate

The White House is pushing the senate to approve a prison reform package based on a model used in Texas.


The First Step Act aims to reduce recidivism by offering vocational training, academic classes and substance abuse treatment, which would earn prisoners “good time credits” that could take time off their sentence.


Attorney Marc Levin,vice president of criminal justice policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, started the program  in Texas in 2005.


“Since then, crime is down more than 30 percent, our incarceration rate is down more than 20 percent in Texas, we've closed eight prisons, it's really become a national success story.”


One slight change would place prisoners within a 500-mile radius of their families.


“When prisoners can maintain contact with their parents, their spouse or their children, that really encourages them to be successful when they do have to be released because they have a support system to turn to,” says Levin.


If the Senate passes, the process would start all over again in January.

 

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