More than 3,000 prisoners were released Friday, July 19, from correctional facilities across the United States under the First Step Act, passed by President Donald Trump last year.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen announced that $75 million of the Justice Department’s existing programs were being redirected to fund the First Step Act, CNN reported.
The House bill, promoted by President Trump in December, was implemented as a measure to give second chances to inmates serving prison sentences.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 20, 2019
Until then, with the implementation of the reform in several states, it has been possible to reduce crime, generate a decrease in the number of inmates, and savings that get passed on to the taxpayers.
Joel Bogmar, a Republican representing the Madison area, told The Daily Signal that reform is an economic benefit. “The more people who are working, the fewer people who are in prison. If someone isn’t employable, it’s more difficult to live a lifestyle to stay out of prison,” he added.
According to a Justice Department official, of the 3,100 recently released inmates, 900 prisoners will be transferred to legal or immigration custody as a result of a restraining order that will be imposed on them, including 650 prisoners who will be transferred to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities and will enter deportation proceedings in accordance with their sentences.
For Norah Yahya, one of the inmates sheltered by the justice reforms, the new episode in the country’s prisons has meant a new beginning for her, “For me it was simply unreal, I was ecstatic.” She was 22 years old when she was first sent to prison after a raid arrested for selling marijuana, by which time she had a 5-year-old daughter, according to CBS.
“It was very challenging, and many of the programs at that time were not liberation-oriented,” Yahya said.
When she served her sentence, she went to college and managed to get a job, but after two years, she went back to prison for selling crack and powdered cocaine. Now with the new opportunity she has to achieve freedom, she said she is willing to do better, “I want to live.”
Many inmates like Yahya, who used to sell drugs, will now be able to return to society with a different view of life. All this within the framework of justice reform, which seeks to address the situation of the country’s inmates from a more humane point of view.