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Higgins Announces House Approval of Criminal Justice Reform Package

Dec 20, 2018
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced bipartisan adoption by the House of Representatives of the “First Step Act” (S. 756).  The bill provides a comprehensive package of reforms to federal sentencing guidelines and the federal prison system. 

“This represents a necessary first step in addressing outdated and inequitable policies, reducing recidivism among inmates, and undoing a broken system that has led to mass incarceration,” said Congressman Higgins. 

The legislation provides:

  • Greater flexibility in sentencing
  • Reforms to mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses
  • Correction officer training
  • Creation of a committee to evaluate risk assessment and provide recommendations for improvement
  • Restrictions on juvenile solitary confinement
  • Correction of the good-time credit to accurately reflect Congressional intent
  • Evidence-based opioid treatment, employment assistance, mentoring and other programming that supports success upon returning to the community


The bill was approved in the House on December 20, 2018 by a vote of 358-36 and adopted by the Senate with a vote of 87-12 on December 18, 2018. The legislation will now move to the President’s desk for his signature.