Reschenthaler Bills on Protecting Senior Citizens, Criminal Justice Reform Pass Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved three pieces of legislation introduced by Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) with unanimous support. The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (H.R. 6813) equips first responders and caregivers with tools to prevent and respond to elder abuse. The One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act (H.R. 8161) creates resource centers to help formerly incarcerated individuals reenter society, and the Protecting the Health and Wellness of Babies and Pregnant Women in Custody Act (H.R. 7718) provides a national standard of care to address the health needs of incarcerated pregnant women and their unborn children. All three bills now await action on the House floor.
“We must protect our nation’s senior citizens, especially those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, from falling victim to fraud and abuse,” said Reschenthaler. “The bipartisan, bicameral Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which I introduced with Rep. Ted Deutch, will ensure our nation’s first responders and caregivers have the resources they need to protect this vulnerable population.”
H.R. 6813 directs the U.S. Department of Justice to develop best practices for assisting professionals – law enforcement, firefighters, emergency personnel, social workers, court officials, and medical professionals – who encounter and support people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic, seniors and those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia are especially vulnerable to exploitation.
Additionally, the House Judiciary Committee passed two criminal justice reform bills introduced by Congressman Reschenthaler. H.R. 8161 reduces recidivism and makes our nation safer by providing 5-year grants to community-based organizations to create community reentry centers for the roughly 600,000 Americans released from prison each year. These centers will offer a number of services aimed at facilitating reintegration into society including:
- Assistance with finding and maintaining employment, including job skills training
- Assistance locating and retaining housing
- Medical and mental health services and substance abuse treatment
H.R. 7718 provides a national standard of care to address the needs of incarcerated women during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum periods. The population of women in prison has grown exponentially over the previous decades. This bill will address their health care needs, as well as those of their unborn children, and ensure positive outcomes for families while providing training and technical assistance for law enforcement and state and local corrections agencies.
“When I served as a district judge in southwestern Pennsylvania, I saw firsthand the revolving door to prison and the critical need for criminal justice reform in our nation,” said Reschenthaler. “The most effective way to be tough on crime is by reducing recidivism, which means fewer crimes committed and fewer victims. H.R. 8161 will accomplish this by providing formerly incarcerated individuals with the resources they need to fully reintegrate into society and contribute to their communities. In addition, H.R. 7718 ensures pregnant and postpartum women in prison have access to necessary health care and services, which means better outcomes for mothers and their unborn children. I thank my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for advancing these commonsense criminal justice reforms today.”