#ShapeTheDebate with Louis L. Reed, #cut50 National Organizer

Watch the first video in our #ShapeTheDebate series from #cut50 National Organizing Director, Louis L. Reed.

Louis served nearly 14 years in federal prison. Last year, he played an integral role in our efforts to pass the First Step Act – federal legislation that would help turn the prison system toward rehabilitation and begin to right some of the wrongs caused by mass incarceration.

As #cut50's National Organizer, Louis works with hundreds of people who are formerly incarcerated or directly impacted by our justice system. He understands deeply that the people who have experienced the brunt of our criminal justice system firsthand hold the expertise we will need to transform it – and that their voices and questions should be uplifted during debate season.

The First Step Act was the biggest criminal justice legislation to pass Congress in decades, and we believe that the formerly incarcerated people at the forefront of advocating for this legislation are the very reason it was signed into law. In this #ShapeTheDebate video, Louis answers a question about how candidates can build on the success of that law.


The First Step Act was historic reform and the result of tough bipartisan negotiation. What policies should we pursue to build on the success of the First Step Act and how would you lead a divided congress into taking those next steps?


  1. Reduce Harsh Sentences

  2. Fix cash money bail systems

  3. Improve prison conditions

  4. Ease barriers for men and women coming home

  5. Incentivize private businesses to hire returning citizens

  6. Rein in prosecutors

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