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 CollinsDOJ: Epstein was removed from suicide watch after being cleared by psychologist The United States broken patent system is getting worse Democratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal 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.


The announcement marked a major setback for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces White House denies exploring payroll tax cut to offset worsening economy Schumer joins Pelosi in opposition to post-Brexit trade deal that risks Northern Ireland accord 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.