Prison Reform

reformThe narrow prison reform bill backed by the White House and being considered by Congress is an incomplete starting point for fixing our broken justice system, ….–Brennan Center for Justice

Giving men and women in prison the opportunity to earn a college degree costs our state less and benefits our society more. New York State currently spends $60,000 per year on every prisoner in our system, and those who leave have a 40 percent chance of ending up back behind bars. Existing programs show that providing a college education in our prisons is much cheaper for the state and delivers far better results. Someone who leaves prison with a college degree has a real shot at a second lease on life because their education gives them the opportunity to get a job and avoid falling back into a cycle of crime.–Gov. Cuomo

New Yorkers are faced with enough taxes and mandates — they do not need to worry about funding college for convicted criminals when they are trying to care for their own families.–Rep. Tom Reed

Governor Cuomo’s “college classes in prison” reform is evidence based, yet it was decried by opponents as “wasteful spending.”

President Donald J. Trump supports prison reform legislation that builds on evidence-based programs to reduce prisoner recidivism rates. The President has called on Congress to help former inmates who have completed their sentences to have a second chance to become contributing members of society.–White House Briefing Statement

President Trump’s statement sounds fine; can it be all that easy? Maybe not. The central question is whether to settle for limited reforms which the Trump Administration and others support or insist that such reforms be accompanied by sentencing reform.

Those backing the Trump Administration’s bill include:

  • President Trump
  • Jared Kushner
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
  • Van Jones
  • National Urban League
  • Grover Norquist
  • Koch Brothers


  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
  • Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • National Council of Churches
  • National Organization for Women
  • The United Methodist Church
  • Union for Reform Judaism
  • United Church of Christ

The bill is H.R. 3356; it will be interesting to see if Republican leaders Ryan and McConnell can assemble enough centrist support to pass it. H.R. 3356 currently has 21 cosponsors; Rep. Reed isn’t among them.

Note: the bill currently being  considered is H.R. 5682,  “To provide for programs to help reduce the risk that prisoners will recidivate upon release from prison, and for other purposes.,” for which no summary is available. Tom Reed is said to support this bill.



About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
This entry was posted in Congress, Legislation, Political, Reed's Views, Trump and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Prison Reform

  1. whungerford says:

    H.R. 5682 passed 360-59. Two Republicans and 57 Democrats voted against it. Rep. Reed voted in favor.


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