Former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley addressed the Senate in December to recognize the imminent passage of the First Step Act, the most significant criminal justice reform legislation passed in a decade. The Due Process Institute was among the core organizations that were responsible for the bill's ultimate success. Senator Grassley explained:
"A diverse group and a broad coalition of other groups, from the ACLU to the American Conservative Union, supported this bill. I can't list all the groups that offered their key support, but they include FreedomWorks, Justice Action Network, Americans for Tax Reform, Heritage Action, the Due Process Institute, Faith & Freedom Coalition, R Street, Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Prison Fellowship, and members of the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition."
The Due Process Institute is proud to be recognized for our efforts, and prouder still that we were part of such an impactful, bipartisan piece of legislation.
The Due Process Institute is a bipartisan nonprofit that works to honor, preserve, and restore principles of fairness in the criminal legal system.
Led by a public policy professional with 20 years of project management, lobbying, legal, and teaching experience, guided by a bipartisan Board of Directors, and supported by bipartisan staff, the Due Process Institute creates workable solutions for challenging policy concerns through advocacy and education.
Several civil liberties and tech organizations have asked Congress to refrain from funding certain surveillance technology as a security measure to protect the nation's border. These proposals have included biometrics, mass surveillance, license plate readers, and DNA data, among others.
Indiana legislators are now considering changes to the state's public defense system in order to address serious shortcomings in the right to counsel as guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment. This has been especially true in misdemeanor cases.
The Due Process Institute joined a letter urging Indiana legislators to take up this important issue.
Following overwhelming votes of support in the Senate (87-12) and the House (358-36), President Trump signed The First Step Act into law on December 21, 2018. The Due Process Institute has been a leader in the lobbying and education regarding this historic piece of criminal justice reform legislation.
"This is a remarkable culmination of years of effort by reformers to get Congress to recognize the need for change," said Director of Rule of Law Initiatives Joe Luppino-Esposito. "The First Step Act will go a long way towards improving public safety and making the federal prison system a place for actual 'corrections', rehabilitation, and redemption. This is the type of reform that stresses justice and effectiveness above all else.
"I look forward to seeing more bipartisan support for reform in the near future as we think about what our next steps ought to be."
The Due Process Institute is heartened by the news that the US Senate will take up the First Step Act and consider it on the floor as early as this week. The First Step Act is supported by the Due Process Institute and dozens of organizations from both sides of aisle because it recalibrates the federal criminal justice system to focus on rehabilitation and redemption, rather than punishment for its own sake. The bill would also change some particularly long sentences.
DPI signed a letter sent to the Senate leaders of both parties responding to a letter from the National Association of United States Attorneys, and explaining why the group's opposition to the First Step Act should be rejected.
Director of Rule of Law Initiatives Joe Luppino-Esposito was quoted by DC reporters on the continued movement of the First Step Act, as the new version of the bill was introduced in the US Senate.
"The genius of this bill is that it re-focuses on the primary purpose of prison: rehabilitating and correcting criminal behavior," said Luppino-Esposito.
On the morning of September 21, the Due Process Institute hosted "Two Views: An Exploration of Key Cases from Supreme Court's Criminal Law Docket." The event, which took place at the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Washington DC, featured Stanford Law Professor Jeffrey Fisher and Erin Murphy of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP. These leading constitutional law experts went in-depth into the most important criminal law cases that the Supreme Court will hear in October.
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