Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Announce ‘First Step Act’ Rally tonight in Detroit

Van Jones to speak on behalf of federal proposal to reverse mass incarceration

Local and national criminal justice reform advocates came together to announce a rally to be held in support of the ‘First Step Act’ Friday in Detroit. The bipartisan legislation that has already passed the house and been given vocal support of the president. Organizers hope to soon gain the support of Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.


“This is the most sweeping legislation that will impact prisons on the federal level that has really happened in a generation,” said Rev. Kevin Harris, founder of Nation Outside. “It’s going to put in place mechanism to make it easier to come home and make a smoother transition into society.”

There’s approximately 2.2 million people whose lives are diminished by excessive prosecution and disproportionate sentences. People who are black, brown and poor whites,” said Louis L. Reed, national organizer of #CUT50. “People who were snatched out of your community because they applied a criminal solution to a social problem.”

Many inmates are serving life sentence for drug convictions. The ‘First Step Act’ would reduce those sentences to 15 years.  And every year, inmates supposedly earn 54 days off of their sentences for obeying the rules behind bars but in practice, it’s only 45 because of the way it is calculated. “The ‘First Step Act’ will also extend the ‘Good Time’ to 54 days,” said Robert Olive, chairman of the Detroit chapter of Nation Outside. “Which means it’s going to put 4,000 people right at the door to be released.”

The “First Step Act” rally will take place tonight at 5:30 in the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 13651 Dequindre Street, Detroit, Michigan 48212. Click HERE to register.