You may have heard about a new law that was passed by the federal government. You may also be wondering how the new bill may impact your case. The new bill is called the First Step Act.
So what is the First Step Act, and what does it mean for your case?
What is the Purpose of the First Step Act?
There have been many concerns raised that the criminal justice system is unfair. There have also been concerns that sentences are too harsh and prisons are not well maintained. These are the focuses of the First Step Act.
The law is designed to reform some federal prisons and to provide judges with more lee-way in dealing with non-violent crimes. It is also designed to improve the quality of federal prisons.
What Does the First Step Act Do?
The First Step Act does several things. First, the Act requires that the United States Attorney General review the current status of federal prisons to determine what actions can be taken to improve them. The Attorney General is one of the most important prosecutors in the United States. There is a timeline provided for how long the Attorney General has to do this. The Attorney General is supposed to provide written recommendations on how best to address concerns in the federal prison system.
The First Step Act also creates special programs for inmates designed to help reform and reintegrate them into society. Parts of the program include substance abuse treatment, home release, community service and job training. As a part of this program, inmates can be rewarded with special privileges for participation Some examples include good time towards sentences and phone privileges.
Third, the Act tries to improve the quality of life for inmates in the federal prison system. The law encourages the placement of inmates near their families, has restrictions on how to treat pregnant women and accommodations for illness. The Act also requires prison officers to be trained in de-escalation tactics to prevent fights.
Finally, the Act allows for individuals who have been previously sentenced to certain drug offenses to apply to a federal court for a reduction in sentence. There are certain time limitations placed on the Act.
What Does the First Step Act Not Do?
There are some common misconceptions about what this Act does and does not do. This law has no impact on a state criminal charge. If you have been charged under certain Virginia laws and may be faced with going to state facilities, the First Step may have nothing to do with your case. The Act also does not impact the state sentencing guidelines for local drug offenses. This Act is focused solely on the Federal Bureau of Prisons and federal prison reform.