First Step Act and Budgets
President Trump signed the First Step Act in late 2018. Like most government programs, it has been slow to roll out. As the most significant piece of prison reform legislation in decades, the Department of Justice has had to make significant adjustments to accommodate this act.
During the 26 years that I lived in federal prison, numerous administrators would tell me and others:
- “We don’t care anything about your life after your release from prison. We’re only concerned with the security of the institution.”
The First Step Act has had to change such a mindset. With the First Step Act, the Bureau of Prisons must place some emphasis on improving outcomes for people that go through the prison system. The prison reform legislation included provisions that could result in people being released early. It included:
- Earned Time Credits—which differ from Good Time Credits
- Mechanisms for people to request Compassionate Release
- Incentives to encourage people to work toward success.
The Department of Justice has requested more than $35 billion for the fiscal-year 2022 budget, and the request includes more than $400 million in funding to expand programs for the First Step Act. Learn more about these programs—including programs for alternatives to incarceration.
The more a person knows and understands the First Step Act and Budgets, the better a person can become to engineer an effective mitigation strategy.