FIRST STEP Act

Five incarcerated people in orange jumpsuits are locked in a cell. There is an American flag hanging above the cell.

Civil Rights Orgs Cautiously Optimistic About Senate Vote on FIRST STEP Act

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: “This bipartisan bill offers some important improvements to the current federal system, but it falls short of providing the meaningful change that is required.”

A Black man wearing a white shirt and gray shorts stands with his hands in cuffs, holding an orange mesh bag and a white and red bottle

House Approves Controversial Prison Reform Measure

But the FIRST STEP Act faces an uphill battle. Criminal justice reform advocates say any meaningful bill must include sentencing reform, and Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agree.

Five incarcerated people in orange jumpsuits are locked in a cell. There is an American flag hanging above the cell.

House Advances Controversial Bill to Reform Federal Prison System

But several civil rights organizations—and Senators—say the measure would do nothing to address sentencing reform that Black and Latinx people desperately need.