U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement after President Trump signed the First Step Act, a bipartisan, comprehensive criminal justice reform package. Sen. Inhofe voted in favor of the legislation earlier this week.
“I’m a law-and-order kind of guy, and one of the things I appreciated most about this bill is that it lets faith based groups like Prison Fellowship operate more comprehensively in federal prisons to help reduce recidivism rates. The bill emphasizes education, job training and rehabilitation programs for inmates so they can reenter society as productive citizens. While there were more reforms I supported and wish had been adopted, this bill will provide a second chance for those who work for it.”
“Criminal Justice reform is needed for the advancement of public safety efforts within our Tulsa community,” said Deputy Chief of Police Jonathan Brooks, City of Tulsa Police Department. “The First Step starts this process by providing much needed alternatives for rehabilitation plus added discretion in sentencing for qualifying lower level crimes. We applaud the collaborative efforts of all parties that worked on this bill and the work of our local Senator, Jim Inhofe.”
The comprehensive package aims to reduce crime by helping low-risk inmates prepare to successfully rejoin society through participation in proven recidivism reduction programs. The bill upholds constitutional responsibilities by ensuring judges have greater sentencing authority for certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who cooperate with law enforcement and preserves the maximum potential sentences for violent and career criminals.
The First Step Act includes strong safeguards that prevent career and violent criminals from receiving earned time credits toward pre-release custody following completion of recidivism reduction programs. The First Step Act is modeled after state-based reforms, like Oklahoma, that have proven to reduce crime, prison populations and taxpayer expenses.
The First Step Act is backed by a number of law enforcement groups, including the nation’s largest police group. It’s also supported by 172 former federal prosecutors including two former Republican U.S. attorneys general, two former deputy attorneys general and a former director of the FBI along with sheriffs from 34 states across the country. The National Governor’s Association, which represents the governors of all 50 states, praised the bill. A broad coalition of conservative and progressive groups along with a host of business leaders and faith-based organizations also support the First Step Act.