The effort to overhaul the criminal justice system has received a major boost from a group of senators on both sides of the aisle.
On Thursday, Republicans and Democrats announced the details of a reworked criminal justice reform bill that previously stalled last November. Some of the legislation remains unchanged, such as giving judges the discretion to give lesser sentences than the present federal mandatory minimums. Mandatory life-sentences would be eliminated for three-time, nonviolent drug offenders. The bill would also create programs to help prisoners successfully re-enter society.
Other portions of the bill were modified to address opponents’ concerns. A couple of the changes include establishing stronger sentences for offenses involving the opioid drug fentanyl, and violent felons would not qualify for retroactive sentence reductions.
The announcement comes on the heels of the successful event Justice Reform Now, organized by #Cut50. The event drew hundreds of advocates and Congressional staffers who are demanding Majority Senator Mitch McConnell take action to curb the incarceration industry in America.
Jessica Jackson Sloan, co-founder of #Cut50 and a Human Rights Attorney, joined guest host Van Jones on NewsOne Now to discuss the revised criminal justice reform bill.
Sloan said, “Everybody is coming together and working together” to make changes to the American criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts African-Americans. Sloan explained the chorus of voices calling for reform include more than 100 celebrities and an increasing number of Republicans.
The co-founder of #Cut50 believes the reworked criminal justice reform bill “does not go far enough.” She continued, “We’re looking for transformative change.”
When presented with the revised bill, Sloan explained she was told “this is the bill.” To which she replied, “This is the first bill — we will be back because this one only reaches 10,000 people.”
Long-time Republican Sophia A. Nelson detailed why more Republicans are joining the criminal justice reform movement, saying, “I think a lot of Republican Governors see it because of the impact on the economics of their states.”
Watch guest host Van Jones, Jessica Jackson Sloan, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the reworked criminal justice reform bill in the video clip above.
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