First Step Act Independent Review Committee

First Step Act Independent Review Committee

About the First Step Act & Independent Review Committee

In December 2018, Congress passed and the president signed into law the First Step Act (FSA), a major piece of bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation intended, in part, to reduce the risk of post-release recidivism by federal inmates and ease their safe and productive reentry into civilian life. FSA’s Title I directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop and implement a new, objective, and statistically validated “risk and needs assessment system” by which the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will evaluate both the risk that individual prisoners will reoffend upon release and the “type, amount, and intensity” of BOP-provided, evidence-based recidivism reduction programming that is most likely to reduce that risk. FSA’s Title I also establishes an Independent Review Committee (IRC) of outside experts to advise and assist DOJ in the development and implementation of this risk and needs assessment system.

On April 8, 2018, DOJ’s National Institute of Justice selected Hudson Institute to serve as organizational host for this Independent Review Committee. The following individuals serve as members of the Committee:

Members of the Committee

The Committee is comprised of academic scholars and correctional practitioners selected for their expertise in risk and needs assessment systems.

Patti Butterfield, Ph.D., adjunct faculty member, Southern New Hampshire University and former senior deputy assistant director in the federal Bureau of Prisons Reentry Services Division

James M. Byrne, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Chair, School of Criminology and Justice Studies at University of Massachusetts Lowell and Director of the Global Community Corrections Initiative

Faye S. Taxman, Ph.D., University Professor and Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence at George Mason University

George J. Terwilliger III, partner, McGuire Woods, and former Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice

John P. Walters, chief operating officer of Hudson Institute and former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the cabinet of President George W. Bush

John E. Wetzel, Secretary of Corrections for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Immediate Past Chair and member of the Executive Committee of the Council of State Governments Justice Center

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