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Van Jones and Jessica Jackson Statement

#cut50 Co-Founders Van Jones and Jessica Jackson Statement On Signing of the First Step Act into Law

#cut50 co-founders Van Jones and Jessica Jackson attended a ceremony at the White House during which President Trump signed the First Step Act into law.

#cut50 was one of the first advocacy groups to work with the administration on this legislative effort, beginning in February 2018. After hosting the Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform in 2015, #cut50 aggressively pursued bipartisan legislation during the Obama era. The team leveraged their deep relationships with Conservatives to continue fighting for reforms after the election of Donald Trump. In 2018, we began working with Hakeem Jeffries, Doug Collins, and the White House to negotiate prison reform legislation called the FIRST STEP Act, which passed the House in May 360-59.

#cut50 then brought formerly incarcerated people to the White House to share their stories; put cases of injustice on the President’s desk – including Ms. Alice Johnson’s; engaged in a concerted effort to pressure lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to adopt Sentencing Reforms in the Senate; and spent the last 6 weeks with formerly incarcerated people, crime survivors, and other advocates meeting with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill to defeat Tom Cotton’s amendments and ensure a strong bipartisan vote in support of the First Step Act in the House and Senate.

“This victory truly belongs to the thousands of people who, like me, have been personally impacted by incarceration and have dedicated their lives to improving the system. This bill was informed by their experiences. Their stories helped win over the President’s support. Tomorrow, they will help ensure we implement this bill quickly and effectively.”

Jessica Jackson, National Director and Cofounder of #cut50

“This bill could have died a dozen different deaths. But the broad coalition that came together to pass it refused to give up. Many have seen their loved ones sent to prison or were incarcerated themselves. For all of us, this fight was deeply personal.”

Van Jones, Cofounder of #cut50 and Host of CNN’s the Van Jones Show.


#cut50 works to cut crime and incarceration in all 50 states by translating local needs into smart safety solutions. The organization brings together unlikely allies—formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, community members, crime survivors, local elected officials, and law enforcement–to keep communities safe and families together.

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