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What will be the impact of the federal criminal justice reform bill on California?




US President Donald Trump speaks prior to signing the First Step Act and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2018.
US President Donald Trump speaks prior to signing the First Step Act and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2018.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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In a year full of political division, the federal criminal justice reform bill signed by President Trump last Friday was a rare bipartisan effort.

The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act — or First Step Act — had support from various lawmakers and groups, and was championed by Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

It enacts prison and sentencing reforms, giving judges more leeway in sentencing, retroactively applying earlier sentencing reforms and paving the road for earlier pre-release custody for certain inmates. However, the First Step Act only extends to the federal prison system, meaning that nearly 90 percent of inmates will not be affected.

So what will be the actual impact of the bill on California? We discuss. 

Guests:

Franklin Zimring, professor of law and faculty director of the Criminal Justice Research Program at UC Berkeley, California; his recent book is “When Police Kill” (Harvard University Press, 2017)

Don Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Office, non-profit public interest law firm that provides legal services to prisoners, based out of Berkeley

Kate Chatfield, policy director for Re:store Justice, a non profit that advocates for criminal justice reform in CA; she is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law