US Rep. Tim Ryan votes for sentencing, prison reforms bill

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan voted today in favor of the FIRST STEP Act, which will make sentencing and prison reforms to the federal prison system.

The legislation creates a system of incentives to encourage prisoners to participate in recidivism reduction programs, bans the shackling of pregnant women, requires prisoners to be placed in facilities within 500 miles of home, and gives judges some discretion to issue sentences below the mandatory minimum for low-level, non-violent drug offenders.

“As the name suggests, this legislation is just the first step in what absolutely must be a broad, deliberate, and comprehensive approach to reforming how criminal justice is handled in the United States,” said Ryan of Howland, D-13th. “For too long our justice system has disproportionately targeted people of color and trapped low-income Americans into a cycle of debt and incarceration. Unrigging this system will take time, but we must fight every day to ensure it takes as little time as possible. Fair and impartial justice is a moral imperative and the great unfinished work of achieving full civil rights for every citizen.”