The Department of Justice is forcefully opposed to a major criminal justice reform bill, according to an internal letter sent last month and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The letter was authored by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd and sent to Marc Short, the now-former director of legislative affairs for President Donald Trump. In it, Boyd outlined Justice's serious concerns about the FIRST STEP Act, a bipartisan proposal for which the White House has signaled sympathy.
Proponents have argued the bill, which passed the House in May and now awaits action in the Senate, is a "prison reform" measure that would overhaul the process of incarceration without actually reducing terms. It would do so by expanding the number of opportunities prisoners have to earn "good time" credits towards early release through participation in vocational training and rehabilitative programming.
However, critics of FIRST STEP argue it would indirectly lead to the release of some 4,000 federal prisoners thanks to the new "good time" credit rules. These prisoners, the DOJ contends in its letter, could include violent offenders and drug traffickers.