The First Step Act

The First Step Act (P.L. 115-391 756) was signed into law on December 21, 2018. The Act is a federal criminal justice reform bill that changes many harsh federal sentencing laws.  The Act also expands compassionate release for qualifying federal inmates and offers current federal inmates rehabilitative programming and the possibility for early release from prison.

NACDL and its members have long pressed to fix the unjustly severe federal sentencing regime, advocating for much more sweeping changes than are included in the First Step Act. Although the law does not go nearly as far as NACDL would like, it will benefit many inmates and has important implications for practitioners.

Full Text of the First Step Act

Relevant Provisions of the First Step Act
for Federal Criminal Law Practitioners:

Risk and Needs Assessment System/Earned Time Credits (Title I)  Good Time Credit Updates (Title I, Section 102)  Sentencing Reform Provisions Under the First Step Act (Title IV)  Compassionate Release (Title VI, Section 603)

NACDL Resources on COVID-19 Response/Release   Volunteer to Help

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Volunteer Now

NACDL seeks volunteers in historic pro bono effort to secure compassionate release for the most vulnerable federal prisoners.

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In these two members-only webinars, leading experts examine the intricacies of the First Step Act. The First Step Act Webinar provides an overview and examines the sentencing implications of the law. The Compassionate Release and Second Looks Webinar focuses on the law's expanded mechanisms for early release.


Contact First Step Act Resource Center Counsel & Project Director Beth Blackwood for questions or support.


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Coronavirus Resources

NACDL to Focus on Service and Support for Members, Clients, and Community Throughout Virus Emergency

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Advocacy Supporting Implementation of the FIRST Step Act

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