Thursday, December 3, 2015

Call Your Senators in Support of Sentencing Reform!

The time is Now to Reform Our Criminal Justice System!
Our beliefs direct us to protect the dignity and well-being of everyone impacted by the criminal justice system. That commitment extends to people who are victimized by crime, as well as to those who commit offenses. Current federal law demands harsh punishment for even low-level drug offenses. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act seeks to restore proportionality and fairness to federal sentencing and aid in rehabilitation for people in prison. Tell your senators to support this bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. 

Call both of your Senators by calling 202-224-3121 and ask for their office. 
Here is a sample script of what you could say:

"Hi, my name is __________ and, as a Presbyterian, I urge Senator (their name) to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act because our criminal justice system badly needs reform and this is an important step in that direction."

Then, call 3 other folks (don't just email them - calls work better!) and urge them to make this same call. This is how movements are built!

This legislation is sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and a bipartisan group of 25 other Senators. This is a bill that will help reduce extremely long sentences for those awaiting sentencing as well as some of those already incarcerated. This bill will lessen the number of those who are incarcerated in the federal prison population, which has exploded since 1980. The increase in the number of incarcerated individuals is largely due to mandatory minimum penalties, which exacerbate racial disparities and perpetuate dangerous prison overcrowding. Senate Bill 2123 is an important step toward fixing the federal prison crisis.

As Christians, we should prioritize forgiveness, mercy, and reconciliation in our judicial system policies. In 1988, the 200th General Assembly weighed in, saying, “individual Presbyterians and the entities of the General Assembly should . . . advocate a social order where compassion and justice characterize efforts toward those in the criminal justice system.”