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Panel discusses criminal justice reform in Louisville

In December, the First Step Act was signed into law, with Senator Rand Paul leading the way in Congress.
Credit: WHAS11

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- Reducing sentences for some drug crimes and restoring rights were hot topics today as Senator Rand Paul sat down with several other representatives a the Galt House to discuss that very topic.

In December, the First Step Act was signed into law, with Senator Rand Paul leading the way in Congress.  The First Step Act is a bipartisan prison reform bill and seeks to reduce recidivism.

The forum's purpose is to discuss why the First Step Act was necessary, what it does, how it was passed, and what the next steps might be.

RELATED: Race and criminal justice reform focus of forum in Kentucky

Kentucky's own Holly Harris was integral in efforts bringing Congress, the Trump administration, and criminal justice reform advocates together to get this bill passed and signed into law.  

"Kentucky has a lot of problems. I mean no state has been more impacted by the drug epidemic in Kentucky and we don’t want to throw in the towel on our friends and family members,” Holly Harris, the president of US Justice Action Network, said. “We want them to be able to redeem themselves and find jobs support their families, prove their education, secure adequate housing, and the only way to do that is to break down the barriers--that we put up in the ‘80s and ‘90s--that we now know actually make us less safe."

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There have been expungement opportunities in Kentucky but now Rand Paul is pushing for federal changes.

They're changes he says will make a difference, especially for African-Americans who are incarcerated at a much higher rate than others.

RELATED: National, state, local leaders push for more accessibility to expungements

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