A Story of Criminal Justice Reform: How the First Step Act Became Law

In the final days of the 115th Congress, a significant and bipartisan federal criminal justice reform bill was signed into law at the White House. The First Step Act, which sought both prison and sentencing reforms, enjoyed overwhelming votes in the Senate and House this past December. Yet the bill’s journey to passage was as unlikely as the coalition of conservatives and liberals who supported it.

Heather Rice-Minus of Prison Fellowship was one of the dedicated advocates whose work ensured that this bill became a law. Heather worked at the center of many of the instrumental negotiations on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Heather joined Steven and Jeff at the Leland House to recount the story of what Van Jones called “a Christmas miracle” for criminal justice reform.

Guest Biography

Heather Rice-Minus serves as vice president of government affairs at Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families. She is a powerful, knowledgeable voice articulating the case for restorative criminal justice solutions. She is also the co-author of Outrageous Justice, a Bible study curriculum and book. A native of Virginia, Rice-Minus resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter.

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