For thousands of people in federal prisons and their loved ones, the last session of Congress ended on a heartbreaking note. Despite high hopes and bipartisan support for several sentencing bills, Congress failed to pass any meaningful reform during 2022.
That repeated failure—coupled with the Bureau of Prisons’ refusal to make adequate use of compassionate release, and President Joe Biden’s limited use of executive clemency—has translated into the federal prison population increasing for the past two years (after nearly a decade in decline), despite the president’s promise to cut it by half.
This year, Congress must do better. It’s time to pass the EQUAL Act, the First Step Implementation Act, and the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act.