Contact: Kristie Eshelman


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2021 — The Niskanen Center today sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) supporting the markup of several bipartisan bills—the First Step Implementation Act (S. 1014); the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act (S. 601); and the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act (S. 312)—and opposing the consideration of unrelated or politically divisive amendments.

The bills, which will be considered by the committee on Thursday, address several important issues, including reform of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses; the creation of processes for targeted public health emergency-related releases; and prohibition of sentence enhancements based on acquitted conduct. 

“We’re happy to see the Senate take up legislation aimed at solving real problems in the criminal justice system that have long gone unaddressed,” said Greg Newburn, director of the Niskanen Center’s criminal justice department. “We’re even happier to see these bills enjoy bipartisan support,” he added. 

In addition to supporting the markup of all three bills, the Niskanen Center endorses both the First Step Implementation Act and the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act. 

The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2014 to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.