Senators have reached a tentative accord on the first major rewrite of criminal justice sentencing in a generation, but now it’s up to President Donald Trump to decide if it’s worth making a push for the sweeping bipartisan bill during the lame-duck session of Congress.
The package has been a top priority of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and senators presented the ideas to Trump at the White House over the summer. Congressional aides and advocacy groups said lawmakers are close to an agreement on the legislation, which would boost rehabilitation efforts for federal prisoners and give judges more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses.
Holly Harris, executive director of Justice Action Network, a lead advocacy group, said, “We’re hoping for a full-throated endorsement” from the president.
“This will be the most significant departure from the failed mandatory minimum policies of the 1990s,” Harris said.
The bill is a rare bipartisan endeavor in a typically log-jammed Congress and has attracted support from a coalition of liberal and conservative groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and groups backed by the political donors Charles and David Koch. Critics say current sentencing guidelines are unfair and have had a lopsided impact on minority communities.
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