Real Criminal Justice Reform Now
With less than 5% of the world’s population yet nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners, the U.S. is absurdly out of step with the rest of the world. In order to reverse this trend sentencing reform is desperately needed.
Passing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act represents one of our best chances in decades for a path forward.
The federal government began to enforce more and more archaic and extreme sentencing policies in the 1980’s as part of the failed “War on Drugs.” Outrageous sentences were handed down by overzealous courts targeting and trapping low-income people of color in jails and prisons. The problem has only worsened over the last 30 years.
These ineffective policies swept more and more people into overcrowded prisons, driving mass incarceration and stretching prison and state budgets to the breaking point. Study after study proves extreme sentencing has no effect on the crime rate in a community.
The length of the average prison sentence in the U.S. has skyrocketed even as crime rates have fallen.
Researchers found that California’s notorious three strikes law, for example, which results in an automatic life sentence for a third-time felony offender, has had absolutely no impact on the state’s crime rate.
Extreme sentencing is, however, enormously harmful to our communities – especially communities of color. People of color bear the brunt of these backwards policies due to discriminatory processes baked into our broken justice system.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is a bipartisan bill with broad and growing public support. Several states have already seen major savings, with no harmful effect on public safety, by implementing even small sentencing reforms to decrease prison populations. These reforms would be a first step toward reversing some of the unjust and harsh policies in the federal system that contributed to mass incarnation in this country.
If we get this passed, it would move this county in the right direction. First thing’s first: we need the Senate Judiciary Committee to give its stamp of approval.
Add your name to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act today.