Philadelphia Delegation lauds passage of Federal First Step Act

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation in the House of Representatives, applauded the passage of “First Step Act,” which is designed to reform the criminal justice system and ease punitive prison sentences at the federal level.

“The First Step Act will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it. Even though there is lot more to accomplish when it comes to criminal justice reform, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Dawkins said. “This legislation was long overdue – for too long we have only been tough on crime. It is past time to take a step back and reevaluate what works better for our communities, our states and the nation.

“I’m glad to see action on mandatory minimums. As we all know they drive up the cost of the system by imposing longer prison terms on more offenders, in many cases nonviolent offenders, and they provide little enhancement to public safety.

“Pennsylvania took the lead on criminal justice reform in the nation, when we passed the Clean Slate legislation and we’re eager to see more change happen across the country.”

The U.S Senate passed the “First Step Act” (87-12) last night. The House is expected to take up the Senate version of the bill at a later date. The House passed a similar version of the bill back in May by a wide margin, 360-59.