>> A couple of things that are happening, criminal justice reform.>> The United States has more people behind bars than any other country in the world, due in part to long prison terms for minor drug convictions. Now with the backing of President Trump, Congress is poised to consider an overhaul of the system.
I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where lawmakers may soon ease the tough on crime policies that have been in place for decades. In recent years there's been a growing consensus across the political spectrum that these policies are too harsh, locking up too many people for too long. Suddenly, the idea of reform has real momentum.
>> The Senate will take up the recently revised criminal justice bill.>> Senate Leader Mitch McConnell saying on Tuesday the chamber could soon vote on a bill known as the First Step Act. It would scale back minimum prison sentences for non-violent offenders and make it easier to find work once they’re released.
Prison reform advocates have been calling for these changes for decades. The House of Representatives passed a criminal justice reform bill by an overwhelming margin earlier this year. Democrat Hakeem Jeffries wrote the legislation.>> We have 5% of the world’s population. Yet 25% of the incarcerated individuals are in the United States of America.
That is outrageous and it is a stain on our society.>> One thing that would change, the current three strikes law, which requires a mandatory life sentence for someone who's convicted of a third felony drug charge. Offenders would instead face a minimum 25 year sentence. The reform movement winning the support of Republicans like Texas Senator John Cornyn.
>> We've finally realize that being smart on crime is more important than just being tough on crime.>> Celebrities like rapper Kanye West lobbying Trump in person. President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is a prominent advocate. He came face to face with America's criminal justice system when his father served a 14 month prison sentence for tax evasion and other crimes.
Trump endorsing the effort last month, renewing that support on Tuesday.>> It'll be up for a vote very shortly, a lot of years have been waiting for it.>> McConnell until now is among the hold outs, reluctant to tinker with the tough on crime approach that has defined his party.
His decision to allow a vote effectively breaks up a log jam on Capital Hill and clears the way for significant change.