MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! The new criminal justice reform bill is a holiday blessing. As witness to this historic event, I can tell you that this pen, as well as the one for the Religious Freedom and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Park are more than just souvenirs. They are evidence that God is moving our President and our nation towards repentance and transformation. I’m on my way back home from Washington, DC just before Christmas praying for all humanity. Many have experienced loss this year, yet there are many blessings. As my grandfather, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., would say, “Thank God for what we have left and keep looking up.”
Archive for December, 2018
Praise Rolls in for POTUS’ Announcement on the FIRST STEP Act
POTUS seeks justice.
Plus: New book release: THE OTHER SIDE OF PAIN
(Prayers and deepest condolences to the families of President President George H. W. Bush and all experiencing loss during this season.)
Praise for President Trump’s support of the FIRST STEP Act and urge its passage through Congress:
HERITAGE FOUNDATION PRESIDENT KAY COLES JAMES: “These conservative, individualized and data-driven reforms will give prisoners the education, skills, and rehabilitation they need to return to their communities and prosper. I applaud President Trump and members of Congress for coming together to recognize this opportunity.”
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN: “Redemption is at the heart of the American Idea, and that’s what this is about. Creating a smoother path for those who have been incarcerated to successfully reenter and contribute to society is a worthwhile goal and one we have long been working toward. The President’s announcement is an encouraging sign that we can achieve substantive reforms to our criminal justice system in this Congress.”
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): “Very excited to have President @realDonaldTrump’s support for the FIRST STEP Act. This bipartisan legislation gives nonviolent offenders an earned second chance and should dramatically reduce the recidivism rate by focusing on skills necessary for people to stay out of prison.”
FOX NEWS’ SEAN HANNITY: “I think we do need real reform. There is unfairness in the system. … Punishment is not working. If you have a 77% recidivism rate, locking you up in a place with bad people and you’re not helping or advancing and changing hearts and minds, it makes sense to me.”
CNN’S VAN JONES: “Give the man his due: @realDonaldTrump is on his way to becoming the uniter-in-Chief on an issue that has divided America for generations.”
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT) IN FOX NEWS: A Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform
“We now have a rare opportunity to pass criminal justice reform that will help restore trust in law enforcement and protect American families. In May of this year, the House of Representatives passed the First Step Act, which includes some much-needed prison reform measures that would reduce recidivism. … It is unlikely we will get another opportunity to enact meaningful reform anytime soon. President Obama failed to accomplish criminal-justice reform during his eight years in office. But President Trump and the Republican Congress can get the job done now. It would be another big step toward making America great again.”
WASHINGTON EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD: Trump Is Right to Embrace Criminal Justice Reform
“On Wednesday, Trump signaled his full-throated support for a bipartisan bill called the First Step Act, which would reform federal prison and re-entry procedures while also modestly scaling back mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug felons. These reforms are very much in harmony with the lessons learned by conservative legislators at the state level.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD: A Real Chance at Criminal Justice Reform
“In this early test, the president is signaling that he indeed wants to make progress on critical issues that enjoy broad bipartisan support. Lawmakers from both parties should follow suit. … [The First Step Act] would reduce mandatory sentencing guidelines for certain drug crimes, allow judges greater wiggle room in sentencing nonviolent drug offenders, do away with the ‘stacking’ provision that tacks on years for the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime and, at long last, make retroactive the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the sentencing gap between crack and powder-cocaine offenses.”
WASHINGTON EXAMINER CONTRIBUTOR MARK VARGAS: Our Cruel and Inhumane Prison System Is So Close To Reform
“Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, the discussion about prison and sentencing reform is back on the table. … The First Step Act, which passed the House of Representatives back in May with overwhelming bipartisan support, is a big step in bringing about reform. It’s now time for the Senate to act and pass this historic piece of legislation so that the president can sign it.”
FREEDOMWORKS PRESIDENT ADAM BRANDON IN THE HILL: Time to Pass the First Step Act
“The merits of the First Step Act compromise package in the Senate stand on their own legs. Carefully crafted criminal justice reforms that provide modest but meaningful incentives to prisoners to participate in evidence based programming individually designed to reduce their risk of reoffense upon release from prison is all but entirely noncontroversial legislation.”
FORMER REP. J.C. WATTS (R-OK) IN THE OKLAHOMAN: Now Is the Time to Pass “First Step Act”
“The goal of the ‘First Step Act’ is to give those leaving prison the tools and resources needed to successfully re-enter society and most importantly, live a crime-free life. The bill will likely also include long-overdue changes to some of the most unnecessarily harsh sentencing laws in the federal system. The bill will be introduced in the Senate this week and should have the support of Oklahoma Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford. As long as Democrats who have shown and voiced support of the legislation follow through, the bill should get well above the votes it needs to pass.”
USAToday OpEd – Kushner: President Trump’s Bipartisan Prison Reforms Will Reduce Recidivism and Improve Public Safety
[Excerpt. Link to full op-ed HERE]
“Crime imposes substantial fiscal and social costs on the United States. Victims and society at large also bear significant costs through pain, suffering, reduced quality of life, property losses, increased medical costs, and loss of life. The most recent estimates from 2014 indicate that altogether these damages constitute an additional 1.5 percent of GDP, yielding a total burden of 2.9 percent of GDP, or roughly $500 billion.
“These costs can be attributed, in part, to crimes committed by prisoners after already serving once in prison, through recidivism after being released from state and federal facilities.
To break this cycle, President Donald J. Trump is working to effect bipartisan and evidence-based prison reforms to reduce recidivism. He issued an executive order in March that is bringing together more than a dozen Federal agencies to identify ways to reduce recidivism, enhance the reentry process, and improve public safety.
“The administration also worked with Congress to draft the FIRST STEP Act, legislation which seeks to strengthen recidivism reduction and evidence-based reentry programs for inmates in federal prisons.
“This White House recognizes that fiscal and human costs of criminal activity are unacceptably high. Through our efforts to break the cycle of crime and reduce recidivism, we can assist more people to contribute to our society rather than be a burden to our great country.”
CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR JUBILEE: Bring Daddy and Mommy Home!
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” Luke 4:18