First Step Act Putting an End to Mass Incarcerations

Frederick County State’s Attorney Charles Smith Testifies on the effectiveness of the law.

FREDERICK, MD. (LG) Efforts are continuing to improve the implementation of the First Step Act. Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith is one of many who testified last week before the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee. “We serve justice each and every day in our courtrooms, balancing the needs of the victims of crime against protecting the innocent. And once again, we are acutely aware of the need to improve and reform our criminal justice system”.

In 2018, Congress passed and then-President Donald Trump signed into law the bipartisan First Step Act. “It was a bipartisan effort to address front and back sentencing change, and prison reform, and we felt it struck an appropriate balance between addressing the need of the current prison population while insuring criminals are penalized appropriately. “

The First Step Act seeks to expand opportunities for people in federal prisons to participate in rehabilitative programming to support their success after release.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reporting promising results with the First Step Act. The recidivism rate among people who have benefitted from the First Step Act is considerably lower than those who were released from prison without the benefit of this law.

“The FSA provided meaningful change where truly dangerous criminals are locked up for an appropriate period of time, and those with addictions or mental health issues have a chance for treatment and rehabilitation,” continued Smith.

“In terms of the First Step Act implementation, one of the great things about the Act is it has proven effectiveness for low risk non violent offenders, while ensuring the public is protected from high risk violent offenders.”

Smith is also the President of the National District Attorney’s Association.

By Loretta Gaines