Cornyn Works with Colleagues, Law Enforcement to Improve First Step Act

On the floor, I discussed my support for the revised version of the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that includes my prison reform legislation. I’ve long been a supporter of these reforms after what I saw the positive impact was in my home state of Texas back in 2007. Then, in response to a steadily growing prison population, Texas began enacting reforms to reduce recidivism through programs like job training and vocational education. This of course allows prisoners to spend their time in prison preparing themselves for life outside of prison. The results were pretty significant. We saw a reduction of both incarceration and crime rates by double digits at the same time.

Some members of the law enforcement community have raised concerns about the bill, and so out of my respect for our law enforcement organizations, I spoke with many of my Republican colleagues about the bill, and originally they said they were unable to support it or undecided because they wanted to make sure that we were doing everything we could to address the concerns raised by law enforcement organizations. So we went to work trying to make improvements in the bill, which I believe we have succeeded in doing.

The revised legislation will keep dangerous and violent criminals who use guns to commit crimes from being released from prison early. They will not be eligible for any sort of earned time release. It will also limit the amount of time that offenders can spend on supervised release to ensure that the Bureau of Prisons will revoke pre-release custody for offenders who violate the terms of their supervision. I appreciate all the work of our colleagues in the Senate who chose to roll up their sleeves and get to work rather than just complain about what was or was not in the bill. And so now I am proud to announce that I will cosponsor this bill, this new and improved version of the bill, and I would encourage all of my colleagues to review it and hopefully join me in supporting this legislation.



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