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.
CA Applauds Commitment to Raise the Age in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, Laments No Mention of Racism, Violence, and Abuse in NYS Prisons
(January 9, 2016) New York, NY: The Correctional Association of New York roundly applauds the continued commitment of Governor Andrew Cuomo to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York, ending the prosecution and incarceration of 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. It is now up to the members of both parties in the NYS Legislature to do their duty to make this a reality. In spite of the Governor’s assertion that the "nation looks to NY to find a way up," we actually fall behind 48 other states, along with North Carolina, by continuing to treat children as adults in the criminal legal system. New York must Raise the Age of criminal responsibility this legislative session. Read More
Victor Pate spent almost two years in solitary confinement in New York prisons, off and on. Once, he said, he was isolated for 90 days for having too many bed sheets in his room. Only two sheets were allowed per prisoner, but Pate was at his prison job when laundry pickup came, he said, so [...]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
Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, director of the Correctional Association's Juvenile Justice Project, testified before the New York State Legislature on the Governor’s proposed budget for 2013-2014.Read More