About the First Step Act

In December 2018, Congress passed and the president signed into law the First Step Act (FSA). This major bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation is intended, in part, to reduce the risk of post-release recidivism by federal inmates and ease their safe, and productive reentry into civilian life. FSA’s Title I directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop and implement a new, objective, and statistically validated “risk and needs assessment system” by which the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will use to evaluate both the risk that individual prisoners may reoffend upon release and the evidence-based recidivism reduction programming that is most likely to reduce that risk. FSA’s Title I also establishes an Independent Review Committee (IRC) of outside experts to advise and assist DOJ in the development and implementation of this risk and needs assessment system.

Senators Grassley, Durbin, Lee And Booker Speak On Passage Of First Step Act

On April 8, 2018, DOJ’s National Institute of Justice selected Hudson Institute to serve as organizational host for the IRC.

Learn More about FSA

Total federal inmates


Average number of inmates released annually since 2014.

NOTE: the COVID-19 pandemic led to unusual intake and release patterns that affect both these numbers

The Committee

Read about the Committee’s purpose and goals, and meet the members involved.

First Step Act Info

Learn about the First Step Act of 2018 and what it means for the future of criminal justice reform.

Latest Publications

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