By COLlive reporter
The U.S. Senate passed a sweeping criminal justice bill Tuesday that has been supported by both conservative and liberal advocacy groups, including a frum Jewish organization.
The new bill addresses concerns that imprisonment of too many Americans for non-violent crimes without adequately preparing them for their return to society, AP reported.
Senate passage of the bill by a vote of 87-12 culminates years of negotiations and gives President Donald Trump a signature policy victory thanks to efforts of his advisor Jared Kushner.
The bill gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts, AP said. It also reduces the life sentence for some drug offenders with three convictions, or “three strikes,” to 25 years.
“America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes,” Trump tweeted. “This will keep our communities safer, and provide hope and a second chance, to those who earn it. In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!”
The House is expected to pass the bill this week, sending it to the president’s desk for his signature, AP reported.
The bill has been lobbied for by frum Jewish organizations. The New York Daily News reported that “Satmar and other Hasidic sects have already raised $2 million to fund their lobbying efforts.”
Michael Tobman, a political consultant active with Chassidic communities, said: “The Hasidic community has long been active in issues surrounding sentences and prison reform as a consequence of deeply held foundational beliefs in everybody deserving a second chance.”
Last December, Trump commuted the 27-year prison sentence of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, a Lubavitcher chossid and former kosher meat executive.
“Hopefully we will see soon…fathers and mothers and their children are being united again,” said Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, a Skverer chossid who is leading the lobbying push.
AP News noted that the bill would affect only federal prisoners, who make up less than 10 percent of the country’s prison population.