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Senate Passes Sweeping Criminal Justice Overhaul

Trump says he looks forward to signing it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 19, 2018 12:33 AM CST
The Capitol Building Dome is seen before the sun rises in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – The Senate passed a sweeping criminal justice bill Tuesday that addresses concerns that the nation's war on drugs had led to the imprisonment of too many Americans for non-violent crimes without adequately preparing them for their return to society. Senate passage of the bill by a vote of 87-12 culminates years of negotiations and gives President Trump a signature policy victory, with the outcome hailed by scores of conservative and liberal advocacy groups, the AP reports. The House is expected to pass the bill this week, sending it to the president's desk for his signature. The bill gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts.

The bill, which only applies to federal prisoners, also reduces the life sentence for some drug offenders with three convictions, or "three strikes," to 25 years. Another provision would allow about 2,600 federal prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses before August 2010 the opportunity to petition for a reduced penalty. "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 moments after the vote. "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!" Trump added.

(Read more criminal justice stories.)

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