Why The First Step Act Is Worthless Without Employment Opportunities

Marley K.
Marley K.
Jun 12 · 8 min read
Photo by Cameron Casey from Pexels

The First Step Act

The latest federal prison reform initiative the First Step Act (aka Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act), has few good attributes like most prisoner reentry programs.

The First Step Act Helps Few Prisoners

The First Step Act is supposed to develop policies for the warden of each prison of the Bureau of Prisons to enter partnerships (subject to the availability of appropriations) with nonprofit and other private organizations, including faith-based, art, and community-based organizations that will deliver recidivism reduction programming on a paid or volunteer basis, Institutions of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001) that will deliver instruction on a paid or volunteer basis, and private entities that will deliver vocational training and certifications; provide equipment to facilitate vocational training or employment opportunities for prisoners; employ prisoners; or assist prisoners in pre-release custody or supervised release in finding employment. Lots of training happens in this act as you can see.

Why The First Step Act Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Because most people incarcerated in America are imprisoned in state prisons, not federal jails, the Act won’t help state ex-offenders. The Act places no requirements on employers public or private sector employers.

All Ex-Inmates Deserve a Second Chance and a Fair Shot

If ex-offenders cannot work, they can’t pay restitution, they can’t repay fines, they can’t pay child support, and they can’t take care of their basic needs. Ex-offenders will be forced to take part in the underground economy, which sends the right back to the place that is required to help them stay on the streets.

Marley K.

Written by

Marley K.

Trying to make sense of the senseless. Teller of truth. Lover of life. I love coffee: www.ko-fi.com/marleyk