Prison reform bill passes U.S. House

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIFR) - The U.S. House passes a prison reform bill in overwhelming bi-partisan fashion on Tuesday but the senior senator from Illinois says he's not a fan.

The First Step Prison Reform Bill passed the house by a 360 to 59 vote. The measure would provide more education for federal prisoners, develop and expand programs that reduce recidivism and give incentives for good behavior.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says he believes the First Step Act would be a step backward from the goal of ending America's mass incarceration crisis.

"There are two or three parts on this bill that needs to be changed if we really want to give people an incentive and opportunity for an early release situation and success once released. And we've agreed to sit down together on a bi-partisan basis to work this out. I'm hoping we could get that done. It would really be an amazing achievement in this year if we can achieve that kind of bi-partisan consensus," said Durbin.

Some African American lawmakers including Senators Corey Booker, Kamala Harris and Representatives John Lewis and Shelia Jackson Lee have voiced their opposition to the act.