1000 Religious Leaders Call for Smarter Federal Drug Sentencing
From the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
Hundreds of faith leaders affiliated with more than 40 faith organizations, including Roman Catholics, Jews, Evangelical Protestants and Mainline Protestants signed onto a letter calling on Congress to support the Smarter Sentencing Act (S1410/HR3382). This action represents a growing movement of religious leaders speaking out on the problem of over incarceration and harsh sentencing policies.
The letter was coordinated by the Faith in Action Criminal Justice Reform Working Group, a coalition of 43 faith organizations chaired by the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society. This builds on a campaign by other religious leaders who released an Easter Statement calling for an end to drug decriminalization in April.
If passed, the act would reduce mandatory-minimum sentences for individuals convicted of federal drug offenses. The call for smarter sentencing is indicative of the shortsightedness and haste in which our sentencing and drug laws are made and the lack of any real assessment of the socio-economic and public health impact of these laws on families.
Mandatory minimum sentences have wreaked havoc on mostly black and brown families and low income communities. The atrocities that exist in the federal criminal justice system cannot and should not be ignored. There are currently 2000 individuals in the federal system who are serving a life without parole sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. Additionally, of the 216,000 individuals in the federal prison system, 50 percent are locked up for a drug offense. Our policymakers in Washington D.C believed then and continue to believe that passing laws that are unconscionable and morally reckless are politically savvy when done in the name of public safety.
They were wrong.
Correctional Association of New York releases “Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Assn.’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
New York, NY (December 13, 2017): Today The Correctional Assn. of NY (CA), founded in 1844 and one of the oldest prison watchdog organizations in the country, released a 92-page report providing graphic first-hand depictions of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as a result of days, weeks, and often years of being caged in solitary confinement for 23 to 24 hours a day.Read More
Southport Correctional Facility is one of two super-maximum security prisons in the state that places an emphasis on solitary confinement. A new report looking at the facility’s practices is highlighting the negative impact solitary confinement can have on a human. So advocates are making a renewed push for the HALT Act. Joining us to talk [...]Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More
Prison Monitoring Reports
Attica Correctional Facility, a 2,000-bed maximum security prison in western New York, continues to operate as a symbolic and real epicenter of state violence and abuse of incarcerated persons in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) state prison system 43 years after the 1971 prison uprising and violent suppression by state authorities. The [...]Read More