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December 20, 2018

Miller, 37 AGs support federal prison reform legislation

First Step Act will 'create a more just federal system,' Iowa attorney general says

DES MOINES -- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has joined 37 other attorneys general in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership in support of the First Step Act.

“As our jurisdictions’ Attorneys General, public safety and the faithful execution of the law fall squarely on our shoulders. Constituents hold us uniquely accountable for ensuring our communities provide a safe place to work and raise a family. To that end, we have supported legislation that strongly punishes criminal conduct while making sure people exiting prison pose less of a threat than when they entered,” the letter reads.

The First Step Act would strengthen the criminal justice system by enacting prison reforms, such as providing additional tools and flexibility to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, ensuring people are prepared for re-entering communities after leaving prison, and allowing prosecutors to seek the most appropriate sentence for each individual.  

“We believe Sen. Grassley’s bill is a good start and will create a more just federal system,” Miller said. “The legislation complements work our office has supported on the state level.”

In the 2017 Iowa Legislature, Miller supported sentencing reform legislation that was ultimately signed into law. The bill reduced penalties for crack cocaine and shortened sentences for other drug offenses.   

“We continue to support efforts to control the growth of prison populations in the state,” Miller said.  In fiscal 2018, the state’s prison population was down 6.5 percent from its peak in 2011.

The letter concludes, “On a bipartisan basis, we request that Congress enact legislation to strengthen our criminal justice system to better safeguard the people of our states. We believe the First Step Act contains many helpful reforms and strongly encourage Congress to provide the bill with a full and open debate.”

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