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House Passes Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Bill
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill in a rare display of bipartisan unity on Dec. 20. The landmark bill, dubbed the First Step Act, will be sent to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature after it passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 358-36. The bill will help inmates re-adjust to society after completing their sentences, addressing concerns that too many Americans have been imprisoned for nonviolent crimes without support later on. Earlier, the Senate approved the bill with a similar show of support by a vote of 87–12. Trump congratulated the bipartisan efforts that pushed the bill through on Twitter. The act will expand on programs that reduce the recidivism risks of prisoners, such as job training programs, while also reducing the sentences for some low-level, nonviolent offenders. It will also adjust certain mandatory minimum sentences as well as cut costs.