The House by an overwhelming 360-59 vote passed a bipartisan reform bill Tuesday that provides more education for federal prisoners and gives them a second chance after their release.Authored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the First Step Act would authorize $250 million over five years to develop and expand programs that reduce recidivism and give incentives for good behavior.
The bill would also boost current inmates’ chances for a GED, vocational and college courses as well as substance abuse and mental health help, Jeffries told lawmakers on the House floor.
“These are individuals who are in the system right now without hope, without opportunity, without a meaningful chance at transforming themselves,” Jeffries said. “And the First Step Act will provide that. … Why would we possibly refuse that?”