The following is a statement from James M. “Jay” Lapeyre, M. Pres Kabacoff and Michael Cowan, members of the Smart on Crime Louisiana Steering Committee, expressing support for the proposed First Step Act, which is currently being considered by the United States Senate after it passed the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 360-59.
“Over the last year, Louisiana has enacted common-sense reforms to our state’s criminal justice system that will improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars and provide stability and opportunity to countless Louisiana families.
Conservative states around the country are adopting similar smart on crime approaches and achieving great success. For example, Texas has been a leader in these kinds of reforms. Since passing the first reforms in 2007, the Lone Star State has seen its crime rate fall by more than 30 percent, the lowest level since 1967. Now, we have an opportunity to make similar, positive changes at the federal level.
The First Step Act is vital to ensuring prisons in America have the resources to help incarcerated people successfully re-enter society and to also avoid the life of crime that got them there in the first place. It will also help correct the mistakes of the past that have led to some of the most over-reaching and harsh sentencing laws in the federal justice system.
From business leaders to faith-based communities, groups and individuals from a wide-range of backgrounds around the nation are showing their support for the First Step Act, because the results of similar state-level reforms speak for themselves. We must reinforce the true American values of liberty and opportunity, and the First Step Act does just that.”