Press releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced an amendment Thursday to the First Step Act.  The amendment addresses gaping loopholes in the legislation that currently allow violent criminals and sex-offenders to qualify for early release programs.  This amendment prioritizes the rights of the victims by requiring prison wardens to notify victims before an offender’s early release.  It also includes a measure to track the effectiveness of anti-recidivism programs.

The National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and several organizations dedicated to victims’ rights offered their support for this amendment.

“The First Step Act is a violation of American public safety, but this amendment addresses some of the major shortfalls in the legislation,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This is not a criminal justice bill.  It is a prisoner release bill.  We should be protecting victims of crimes and not the offenders who committed the crimes.  I don’t think the bill represents justice, but I think our amendment will fix some of the issues with the legislation.”

"I'm pleased that major law enforcement groups support our amendments to exclude violent felons and sex offenders from early release, notify victims before criminals are released, and to measure whether the First Step Act works,” said Sen. Cotton. “Next week, the Senate will vote on these amendments. I urge my colleagues to support these changes to ensure that no violent sex offenders can be eligible for any type of early release.”

Click here to view the summary of the amendment.  The full text of the amendment is available here.