After more than a year of prayerful action and progress, sentencing reform legislation has stalled in Congress. Senate leaders claim that they are waiting to see what the House does with their version of the Sentencing Reform Act before moving forward.
The House of Representatives version of the bill, the “Sentencing Reform Act of 2015,” would reduce the mandatory minimum prison term for certain non-violent defendants. It would also make the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive to permit resentencing of convicted crack cocaine offender sentenced before 2010.
It’s not a fix-all, but it would be a major step in the right direction in addressing mass incarceration. Our Thirtieth General Synod called mass incarceration one of the most critical human and civil rights issues in the United States because of its disparate impact and disenfranchisement of people of color, youth, people with mental illness, and people with limited economic and other resources.
This legislation is one of the few examples of bi-partisan cooperation in this congress, yet now both sides are playing a game of “You go first. No, you first” when it comes to getting either of their bills to the floor for a vote. And time is quickly running out.
Contact your Representative today and tell them how important it is that they move on Sentencing Reform.