Critics of criminal justice bill make final push for changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Critics of a criminal justice bill in the Senate are making a final push to amend the legislation in a way that could kill its prospects.

The Senate voted 82-12 Monday evening to advance the bill, which gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts.

Now the Senate is turning its attention to several amendments. One would exclude more prisoners from participating in a program that allows them to earn credits that can be used to gain an earlier release to a halfway house or home confinement to finish out their sentence.

Another would require that victims be notified before a prisoner gets that earlier release.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois calls the proposals “poison pills” that would unravel bipartisan support for the bill.

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