Cornyn: New Criminal Justice Reform Law Brings Texas Model Nationwide

In: All News   Posted 12/21/2018

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after President Trump signed the First Step Act into law, which includes Senator Cornyn’s prison reform provisions:

“I’ve worked for years to bring the Texas model of successful prison reform nationwide, and this law will help us close the revolving door of recidivism for Americans looking for a second chance on life. This is a great example of what we can achieve when we bring ideas that work from our home states – the laboratories of democracy - to Congress.”

“The First Step Act was a whole of government effort that required input from both sides of the aisle and law enforcement groups to make this bill stronger, and I’m gratified by President Trump’s support.”

The First Step Act includes provisions from Senator Cornyn’s prison reform legislation, which was modeled after Texas’ successful reforms.

Background on Senator Cornyn’s Prison Reform Provisions:

  • Risk Assessment: Requires the Department of Justice to develop risk assessment tools that will assess the recidivism risk of all eligible offenders.
  • Reducing Prison Spending: Focuses limited Bureau of Prison resources on those most likely to commit future crimes and shifts lower-risk inmates to less restrictive conditions, reducing prison costs and freeing up resources for law enforcement.
  • Expanded Recidivism-Reduction Programming: Requires the Bureau of Prisons to provide evidence-based recidivism reduction programming to all eligible offenders.
  • Partnerships with Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations: Promotes efficient and effective recidivism reduction programming by requiring, the Bureau of Prisons to partner with private organizations, including non-profits, to enhance existing efforts.
  • Credit toward Prerelease Custody: Incentivizes low-risk and non-violent inmates to reduce their risk profile by allowing eligible inmates who successfully complete recidivism reduction programs to earn credit toward time in pre-release custody.
  • Improving Prisoner Reentry: Requires the federal probation office to begin planning for eligible offenders’ reentry at the beginning of the inmate’s sentence and requires the Justice Department to implement reentry pilot projects across the country.
  • Good Time Credits: Increases the amount of “good time” credits for good behavior in prison.
  • Protecting Vulnerable Prison Populations: Limits the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners and improves audits to reduce or eliminate prison rape.
  • Correctional Officer and Prison Guard Provisions: Requires the warden of every federal prison facility to provide a secure storage facility for guards to secure firearms. Requires prison guards to receive de-escalation training.

The First Step Act received endorsements from the Texas Fraternal Order of Police, the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, American Conservative Union, Prison Fellowship, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Council of State Governments.