FreedomWorks Gives Testimony to the Department of Justice Regarding Implementation of the First Step Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Supporting the goals of the First Step Act of 2018, FreedomWorks offered verbal and written testimony yesterday to the Department of Justice’s NIJ Director Muhlhausen, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bacon, BOP Director Hawk Sawyer, and Associate BOP Director Hurwitz on the implementation of this critical piece of federal criminal justice reform legislation and its developing risk and needs assessment, “PATTERN.”

In her testimony, which can be found in full here, Sarah Anderson, FreedomWorks Federal Affairs Manager, commented:

“[W]e believe that PATTERN mistakenly treats some factors as “dynamic” that, although they can reasonably be expected to change while in prison, are not truly dynamic in nature… Additionally, the point assignments outlined in PATTERN seem to place too much emphasis on scores from static factors and not enough emphasis on dynamic factors.

“[T]he next chief concern that FreedomWorks has with PATTERN [is that it] focuses only on the “risk” side of the equation, offering little to nothing on the way in which needs will be assessed… [I]t was critical to proponents and to those voting for the [First Step Act] that each prisoner be able to participate in recidivism reduction programming that fits his or her unique needs.”

“We are thankful for the opportunity to continue to offer input on this important issue and hope that the Department will take into consideration the recommendations of FreedomWorks and of our various allies alongside me here today.”