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Source:  The Washington Post

Movies and Capitol Hill tend to mix mostly in throwback work, like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” or in token scenes in popcorn fests, such as “Mission: Impossible,” in which lawmakers try to rein in renegade heroes. Otherwise? Policy and protagonists tend to stay pretty far apart.

But a prison reform bill in the Senate improbably owes at least some of its momentum to a movie — not a widely seen Hollywood release but a little-known documentary that has quietly been marshaled by the bill’s backers to sway skeptical lawmakers.

As the much-covered First Step Act stands on the brink of passage, “The Sentence,” an emotional look at a family caught up in the federal prison system, appears to have helped get it there.

The First Step Act aims to, among other goals, reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders in federal prisons and to allow some people to be incarcerated closer to their homes, which would reduce the burden on their families.

While many reform activists say the bill calls for a modest action that will affect only a small number of inmates, they also note its importance in making the punishment for nonviolent offenders more proportional.

Read the story at The Washington Post. 

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