CBO: Prison Reform Bill to Release 53K Inmates, Cost U.S. Taxpayers $346M

The Associated Press

The First Step Act, if signed into law by President Trump, would reduce the federal prison population by 53,000 inmates, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds.

In a new report on Monday, the CBO revealed that the prison reform bill — supported by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats as well Trump — will “reduce the number of prisoners by about 53,000 person-years over the 2019- 2028 period” which CBO researchers say “is roughly equivalent to reducing the federal prison population by 53,000 inmates in one year.”

The prison reform bill’s early release for particular groups of federal inmates and sentencing reduction provisions will cost American taxpayers about $346 million over a decade, CBO officials say:

By accelerating the release of prisoners, CBO estimates that the legislation would increase the number of people receiving benefits from [Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and food stamps] programs. [Emphasis added]

As a result, CBO and [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that enacting the legislation would increase direct spending by $346 million and reduce revenues by $6 million over the 2019-2028 period. [Emphasis added]

The first two years of the prison reform bill would cost taxpayers more than $35 million and in ten years leave the federal deficit with a net increase of about $352 million.

The prison reform legislation includes an overhaul of the country’s criminal justice system by reducing mandatory minimum sentences and broadening early release credits for convicted felons who are deemed to be “non-violent criminals.”

The legislation ends the current “three-strikes rule” — which gives an automatic life sentence to three-time convicted violent felons — and instead reduces their sentences to 25 years in prison.

Additionally, the First Step Act makes the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive, reducing the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences, impacting nearly 3,000 inmates. The bill includes a largescale recidivism reduction program that expands “earned time credits,” allowing inmates to be released to halfway houses or home confinement to finish out their sentences.

The legislation ends the current “three-strikes rule” — which gives an automatic life sentence to three-time convicted violent felons — and instead reduces their sentences to 25 years in prison.

There are roughly 190,000 inmates in federal prisons across the United States, including about 45,500 foreign-born federal inmates — the vast majority of which are illegal aliens.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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