Today, the 48 Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus announced their support for H.R. 5682, The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed, Safely Transitioning Every Person Act (FIRST STEP). The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Doug Collins (GA-09) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), aims to improve public safety while lowering recidivism and prison populations through rehabilitative programing, enabling newly-released individuals to more successfully re-enter society. The legislation authorizes $50 million per year for five years to develop programs related to education, vocational training and mental health counseling.
Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Tom Reed (NY-23) said, “Prison reform shouldn’t be a Republican or Democrat issue, and today the Problem Solvers Caucus took another step forward in breaking the gridlock in Washington. As a caucus, we are working together to legislate and govern to make a positive impact on our communities. The current prison system is not fair for those released or the neighborhoods they return to. I care about rehabilitating our nation’s prison population so that when they re-enter society they can make a positive impact on their communities.”
Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) said, “Democrats and Republicans agree—our current prison system must be reformed. We waste massive amounts of money on strategies that make our communities less, not more safe. We need to stop the revolving door into prisons, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayers money. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus is committed to working with both sides to break through the gridlock and find common-sense solutions to our toughest challenges issues — and prison reform is a perfect example.”
Congressman Richard M. Nolan (MN-8) said, “The FIRST STEP Act is all about giving people a second chance to live up to their full potential and benefit our society. The fact of the matter is that solving problems and making life better for people is what politics at its best is all about. And that’s what our Problem Solvers Caucus is all about.”
Congressman Thomas Suozzi (NY-3) said, “I support the STEP ACT. Democrats and Republicans have come together in this bipartisan bill to forge this commonsense prison reform. Too many Americans are languishing in prison. This bipartisan bill gives many individuals the opportunity to reenter society in successful and productive ways that improve public safety.”
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) said, “There is broad bipartisan support in Congress for criminal justice reform, and improving rehabilitative programming in our prisons is an important first step,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “Ensuring better outcomes for inmates will help them successfully re-enter society while improving safety in our communities.”
Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL-3) said, “I am proud to support the Problem Solvers Caucus in endorsing this commonsense criminal justice reform bill. This bipartisan bill makes reasonable changes needed to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and helps give people the tools they need to succeed as they rejoin their communities.”
The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprising of 48 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues. It is co-chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY).