Prison reform bill set for House markup next week

Prison reform bill set for House markup next week
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The House Judiciary Committee is expected next week to mark up a Republican proposal that aims to reduce prison recidivism rates, according to a senior Republican staffer who has been briefed on the plans.

Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsConnect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done Top Koch network officials vent frustration with White House, GOP-led Congress Paul Ryan would be ‘perfect fit’ to lead AEI, Republicans say MORE’s (R-Ga.) Prison Reform and Redemption Act would allow prisoners to serve the final days of their sentences in a halfway house or home confinement if they complete evidence-based programs that have been shown to reduce recidivism rates. 

Prison programming could include everything from job and vocational skills training to education and drug treatment 

The White House announced in February it was throwing its support behind prison reform measures such as Collins's bill instead of measures to reduce mandatory minimum prison sentences.

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The announcement marked a major setback for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDemocrats question if Kavanaugh lied about work on terrorism policy The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Connect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done MORE (R-Iowa), who has been working to move his criminal justice reform bill through Congress after it stalled last session. 

A senior White House official said then that the administration sees no path forward for sentencing reform. 

"And so what we see now is an environment where the prison reform does have enough support to get done," the official said. "And we think that by maybe doing this in smaller bits and pushing the prison reform now, we think this has a better chance of getting done." 

Grassley's spokesman, Taylor Foy, said at the time that the chairman is focused on passing sound policy, not the path of least resistance, adding that bipartisan support for comprehensive criminal justice reform continues to grow.

The senior Republican staffer said they feel confident Collins's bill will pass through the House Judiciary Committee.

A committee spokesperson said only that the committee is working toward a markup as soon as possible.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have a bill in the Senate that mirrors Collins's proposal.