Jan 28, 2019
In the final days of the 115th Congress, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the First Step Act, which made changes to the operation of the federal prison system. In this episode, learn every detail of this new law, including the big money interests who advocated for its passage and their possible motivations for doing so.
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Article: Revolving door brings Trump-tied lobbying firm even closer to the White House by Anna Massoglia and Karl Evers-Hillstrom, OpenSecrets News, January 22, 2019.
Article: Trump fails the first test of the First Step Act by Edward Chung, The Hill, January 10, 2019.
Article: The First Step Act could be a big gift to CoreCivic and the private prison industry by Liliana Segura, The Intercept, December 22, 2018.
Article: For-profit prisons strongly approve of bipartisan criminal justice reform bill by Karl Evers-Hillstrom, OpenSecrets News, December 20, 2018.
Statement: SPLC statement on bipartisan passage of First Step Act criminal justice reform bill by Lisa Graybill, Southern Poverty Law Center, December 20, 2018.
Article: The First Step Act is not sweeping criminal justice reform - and the risk is that it becomes the only step by Natasha Lennard, The Intercept, December 19, 2018.
Article: Conservatives scramble to change criminal justice bill by Jordain Carney, The Hill, December 18, 2018.
Article: The FIRST STEP Act will make us safer without the Cotton-Kennedy amendments by Tricia Forbes, The Hill, December 18, 2018.
Article: Who no details about criminal justice 'reform'? by Thomas R. Ascik, The Hill, December 17, 2018.
Letter: The ACLU and the Leadership Conference support S.756, and urge Senators to vote yes on Cloture and no on all amendments, The Leadership Conference, CivilRights.org, December 17, 2018.
Article: Koch-backed criminal justice reform bill to reach Senate, All Things Considered, NPR, December 16, 2018.
Article: The problem with the "First Step Act" by Peniel Ibe, American Friends Service Committee, December 14, 2018.
Article: Why is a Florida for-profit prison company backing bipartisan criminal justice reform? by Steve Dontorno, Tampa Bay Times, December 7, 2018.
Article: How the FIRST STEP Act moves criminal justice reform forward by Charlotte Resing, ACLU, December 3, 2018.
Article: Private prison companies served with lawsuits over using detainee labor by Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, November 25, 2018.
Statement: GEO Group statement on federal legislation on prison reform (The FIRST STEP Act), GEO Group, November 19, 2018.
Article: Karl Rove's crossroads GPS is dead, long live his multi-million dollar 'dark money' operation by Anna Massoglia and Karl Evers-Hillstrom, OpenSecrets News, November 16, 2018.
Article: We are former attorneys general. We salute Jeff Sessions. by William P. Barr, Edwin Meese III, and Michael B. Mukasey, The Washington Post, November 7, 2018.
Article: How the Koch brothers built the most powerful rightwing group you've never heard of by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Caroline Tervo, and Theda Skocpol, The Guardian, September 26, 2018.
Article: U.S. prisoners' strike is a reminder how common inmate labor is by Ruben J. Garcia, CBS News, September 8, 2018.
Article: Kim Kardashian, activist, visits White House to call for prisoner freedom by Amelia McDonell-Parry, Rolling Stone, September 6, 2018.
Article: Who is Chris Young? Kim Kardashian West to meet with Donald Trump to try to get prisoner pardoned by Janice Williams, Newsweek, September 5, 2018.
Article: Kim Kardashian West visits White House to talk prison reform by Brett Samuels, The Hill, September 5, 2018.
Article: Kim Kardashian West to another convicted felon's case: report by Brett Samuels, The Hill, September 5, 2018.
Article: 'Prison slavery': Inmates are paid cents while manufacturing products sold to government by Daniel Moritz-Rabson, Newsweek, August 28, 2018.
Article: Turf war between Kushner and Sessions drove federal prison director to quit by Glenn Thrush and Danielle Ivory, The New York Times, May 24, 2018.
Report: Attorney General Sessions announces Hugh Hurwitz as the Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice, May 18, 2018.
Article: Beware of big philanthropy's new enthusiasm for criminal justice reform by Michelle Chen, The Nation, March 16, 2018.
Article: Corporations and governments collude in prison slavery racket by Mark Maxey, People's World, February 7, 2018.
Article: Super PAC priorities USA plans to spend $50 million on digital ads for 2018 by Jessica Estepa, USA Today, November 2, 2017.
Article: Private prisons firm to lobby, campaign against recidivism by Jonathan Mattise, AP News, October 31, 2017.
Article: Slave labor widespread at ICE detention centers, lawyers say by Mia Steinle, POGO, September 7, 2017.
Article: The sordid case behind Jared Kushner's grudge against Chris Christie by Byron York, The Washington Examiner, April 16, 2017.
Report: How much do incarcerated people earn in each state? by Wendy Sawyer, Prison Policy Initiative, April 10, 2017.
Press Release: The GEO Group closes $360 million acquisition of community education centers, Company Release, GEO Group, Inc., April 6, 2017.
Article: How a private prison company used detained immigrants for free labor by Madison Pauly, Mother Jones, April 3, 2017.
Article: Bias in criminal risk scores is mathematically inevitable, researchers say by Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson, ProPublica, December 30, 2016.
Article: Jailed for ending a pregnancy: How prosecutors get inventive on abortion by Molly Redden, The Guardian, November 22, 2016.
Article: Federal prison-owned 'factories with fences' facing increased scrutiny by Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, September 4, 2016.
Investigative Summary: Findings of fraud and other irregularities related to the manufacture and sale of combat helmets by the Federal Prison Industries and ArmorSource, LLC, to the Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, August 2016.
Report: Federal prison industries: Background, debate, legislative history, and policy options, Congressional Research Service, May 11, 2016.
Article: New Koch by Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, January 25, 2016.
Article: Pregnant and behind bars: how the US prison system abuses mothers-to-be by Victoria Law, The Guardian, October 20, 2015.
Article: American slavery, reinvented by Whitney Benns, The Atlantic, September 21, 2015.
Article: Yes, prisoners used to sew lingerie for Victoria's Secret - just like in 'Orange is the New Black' season 3 by Emily Yahr, The Washington Post, June 17, 2015.
Report: Treatment industrial complex: How for-profit prison corporations are undermining efforts to treat and rehabilitate prisoners for corporate gain by Caroline Isaacs, Grassroots Leadership, November 2014.
Report: The prison indistries Enhancement Certification Program: A program history by Barbara Auerbach, National CIA, May 4, 2012.
Article: The hidden history of ALEC and prison labor by Mike Elk and Bob Sloan, The Nation, August 1, 2011.
Article: Slave labor - money trail leads to Koch brothers and conservatives who want your job! by Bob Sloan, Daily Kos, February 21, 2011.
Article: The Legacy by Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine, July 12, 2009.
Hearing: Federal Prison Industries, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, C-SPAN, July 1, 2005.
Article: Democratic donor receives two-year prison sentence by Ronald Smothers, The New York Times, March 5, 2005.
Speakers: - Mike Allen, Founder and Executive Editor of Axios - Mark Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Koch Industries - Senator Amy Klobuchar
24:10 Mark Holden: And last night, 87 to 12, that’s a curb stomping. And I will note, as a Patriots fan, Gronk is 87 and Brady’s 12, right? I mean, yeah. Something there.
49:00 Mike Allen: Watching last night, and the conversations today, it was clear there was a real sense of history, a sense of occasion on the Senate floor last night. Take us there. Tell us what that was like. Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN): Well, we haven’t had a lot of joyous moments in the Senate this year. Big-surprise-news item I gave you. And this was one of those because I think for one thing we’re coming to the end of the year. We were able to get some really important things done: the farm bill; the sex harassment bill that I led with Senator Blunt that had been really difficult to negotiate for the last year; and then of course the budget, which we hope to get done in the next two days; and then we’ve got this. And this was something that has been explained. It was five years in the making. It took people out of their comfort zones. You had people on both sides that never thought they’d be talking about reducing drug sentences. So in that way, it was kind of this Christmas miracle that people came together. But the second piece of it was just that we knew they were these bad amendments that you’ve heard about. Some of them we felt were maybe designed to put us in a bad place, only because politically the bill protected us from a lot of the things that were in the amendments. So what was the best part of the night for me was that it wasn’t Democrats fighting against Tom Cotton and these amendments; it was Chuck Grassley, in his festive-red holiday sweater, who went up there with that Iowa accent that maybe only I can understand, being from Minnesota, and was able to really effectively fight them down. And the second thing was just the final vote—I mean, we don’t get that many votes for a volleyball resolution—and that we had that strong of support for the reform was also really exciting.
Witnesses: - Phillip Glover - American Federation of Government Employees Prison Locals Council - President - Paul Miller - Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association
6:19 Representative Bobby Scott (VA): FPI can only sell its products and services to federal agencies. The program was established in the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, as a way to teach prisoners real work habits and skills so that when they are released from prison they’ll be able to find and hold jobs to support themselves and their families and be less likely to commit more crimes. It is clear that the program works to do just that. Followup studies covering as much as 16 years of data have shown that inmates who participate in Prison Industries are 14% more likely to be employed and 24% less likely to commit crimes than like prisoners who do not participate in the program.
1:39:58 Former Representative Pieter Hoekstra, current Ambassador to the Netherlands: Mandatory source was great for Federal Prison Industries during the 1990s and 2001 and 2002. But you know what? I think it was wrong that Federal Prison Industries was the fastest and probably the only growing office-furniture company in America during that time. As the industry was going through significant layoffs, Federal Prison Industries was growing by double digits each and every year.
1:46:40 Philip Glover: If you have someone serving at USP, Leavenworth, for instance, and they’re in for 45 years or 50 years, you can educate them, you can vo-tech them, but to keep them productive and occupied on a daily basis and feel like they have a little bit of worth, this program seems to do that. That’s where, at least as a correctional officer, that’s where I come from on this program is that it gives the inmate a sense of worth, and every day he goes down and does something productive.
About Page: Americans for Prosperity
American Addiction Centers: Crack Cocaine & Cocaine: What's the Difference?
Annual Report: The GEO Group, Inc. 2017 Annual Report
Lobbying Report: Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5)
OpenSecrets: Americans for Prosperity
OpenSecrets: CoreCivic Inc. Lobbyists
OpenSecrets: CoreCivic Inc Profile for 2018 Election Cycle
OpenSecrets: GEO Group Lobbyists
OpenSecrets: GEO Group Profile for 2018 Election Cycle
OpenSecrets: Outside Spending of Political Nonprofits
OpenSecrets: Trump 2017 Inauguration Donors
Product Page: Pride Enterprises
SPLC: Criminal Justice Reform
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