EXCLUSIVE: House Plans To Push Ahead With Criminal Justice Reform

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The House of Representatives is planning on voting on criminal justice reform Wednesday in an “overwhelming” vote before pressuring the senate to act on the measures, a GOP Capitol Hill aide tells The Daily Caller.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is planning on marking up five bills related to the opioid addiction crisis rankling the United States. A GOP Hill aide told TheDC, “[crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore] is trying to put criminal justice reform on the opioid bills the House is considering this week.” The Judiciary Committee previously passed H.R. 3713, The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, in a voice vote in November.

The White House has been pushing ahead to pass a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill in Obama’s last year. On Monday, economists in the Obama administration released a report which said that crowded U.S prisons are harming the nation’s economy. They argued the economy would be benefited by instead investing in prisoner education and job opportunities for felons.

While the administration has touted criminal justice reform as a bipartisan initiative, conservative groups have come against the proposals the Senate has so far introduced.

“The bills would retroactively reduce the minimum sentencing requirements for all individuals (regardless of their citizenship or immigration status) convicted of certain federal crimes. It would only apply to federal prisons, which comprise 9% of the entire incarcerated population in the United States,” NumbersUSA wrote in a statement.

The statement continued to note: “in a letter sent to Sen. [crscore]Jeff Sessions[/crscore] last fall, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that 77% of individuals convicted of federal drug possession charges and more than 25% of individuals convicted of federal drug trafficking charges in FY2015 were non-citizens. Since these are the individuals who would most likely be released, you can see our concern with the legislation.”

Supporters of reform of sentencing laws point to the fact that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Current proposals include changing sentencing requirements and retroactively alleviate punishment for felons. (RELATED: Bipartisan Senate Bill Risks Freeing Dangerous Criminals)

In a letter to senators the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association among other groups voiced concern about these proposals. “Ultimately, the retroactivity provisions remaining under the revised bill still allow for reduced sentences for some of the most dangerous drug traffickers who possessed firearms as part of their criminal activity,” the letter said.

CORRECTION: The House of Representatives will vote on HR. 3713, previously passed out of the Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday, a Capitol Hill aide tells The Daily Caller.