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Law Enforcement and Victims’ Rights Group Support Cotton-Kennedy Amendments

December 14, 2018

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) today announced support from law enforcement and victims' rights groups for the Cotton-Kennedy amendments to the First Step Act. Click here to read a letter from the National Association of Police Organizations.

"I'm pleased that major law enforcement groups support our amendments to exclude violent felons and sex offenders from early release, notify victims before criminals are released, and to measure whether the First Step Act works. Next week, the Senate will vote on these amendments. I urge my colleagues to support these changes to ensure that no violent sex offenders can be eligible for any type of early release," said Senator Cotton.

"The early release of criminals is not an issue that should be fast-tracked through Congress," said Senator Kennedy. "As written, the First Step Act could release many violent criminals and sex offenders. Our amendment addresses these threats to public safety, and it has been endorsed by law enforcement officers and victims' rights groups. I hope that the rest of our Senate colleagues realize the shortfalls of the First Step Act and vote to support this amendment."

The Cotton-Kennedy amendments will:

  • Exclude nine more classes of criminals from using time credits to transfer out of prison early, including sex offenders who attempt to coerce minors under 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b)
  • Require the Bureau of Prisons to attempt to notify victims before criminals are transferred out of prison
  • Track the rearrests of criminals in prerelease custody or supervised release to ensure the program is working

Senator Cotton and Senator Kennedy's amendments are supported by organizations representing hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers, including the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and by organizations dedicated to victims' rights. The text of the amendment is available here and one-pager on the bill is available here.