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  • The First Step Act: A step towards reduced recidivism and more jobs

    The First Step Act: A step towards reduced recidivism and more jobs

    Roughly 20 million Americans have felony convictions on their criminal records. That is 8% of the U.S. adult population!

    What is worse? In a 2003 survey of California businesses, 71% said they would probably not hire an applicant with a criminal record. That leaves more than 600,000 people released from state and federal prisons every year struggling to find work.

    Jared Kushner, the senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has presented a prison reform bill called the First Step Act. The bill is not intended to reform or reduce prison sentences. It, instead, focuses on rehabilitation, right from day one of incarceration, by incentivizing efforts devoted to vocational and rehabilitation programs. The prisoners will get “earned time credits” that would allow them to be released early to halfway houses or home confinement.

    This is a considerable step in mitigating prison overcrowding, breaking the recidivism cycle and reducing both crime and incarceration in the long term.

    What it means for inmates

    If enforced, the First Step Act could free 4,000 federal prisoners immediately and help tens of thousands more to break the recidivism cycle.

    It increases the amount of “good time credits” that inmates can earn. Inmates who avoid a disciplinary record can currently get credits of up to 47 days per year (of incarceration), which will rise to 54. Hence, inmates would be able to cut their prison sentence by an additional week for each year they are incarcerated, based on their good behavior. The change applies retroactively, which means a few prisoners can be released the same day the bill goes into effect.

    Most importantly, this is the first time there is such momentum behind a federal initiative to bring both compassion and common sense to criminal justice.

    What it means for their families

    As per the recent trends, almost half of federal inmates who were conditionally released are re-arrested within 5 years. The First Step Act will give acquits a chance to lead a normal life with their families.

    It has also been noticed, too often, that the current rigid system is unfair for people whom have committed minor offenses. Ending mandatory minimum sentences would mean punishment for the criminal rather than the crime. Better judicial discretion would help many convicts avoid prison altogether and enroll in corrective programs that are cheaper and more effective. This will greatly increase their chances of being eligible for a decent job.

    This means more family time, more chances to make amends, and change the perception and stigmas that the world has on crimes, criminals, and their families.

    Role of InCom Mail

    Regular communication will help the incarcerated ones stay connected with the outside world, in hopes of their transition becoming easier. InCom Mail is all about words of encouragement and how they can motivate a loved one to lead a life of respect, love, and compassion. InCom Mail, a means of communication that is quick, simple and affordable, can make that happen for you.

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