Civil and Human Rights Groups: Sentencing Fixes Must Be Included in Prison Reform

April 13, 2018 4:15 pm

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WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and 62 other groups sent a letter today to the House Judiciary Committee, expressing opposition to any efforts to pass prison reform legislation without including sentencing provisions. The groups urged Congress to continue to support comprehensive reform and raised substantive concerns with the Prison Reform and Redemption Act (H.R. 3356).

The groups note that H.R. 3356 is unlikely to achieve meaningful prison reform, provides no incentive to those most in need of rehabilitative programming, and omits key prison reforms.

They write, “It is up to Congress to continue to advance front end and back end reform designed to improve both federal sentencing laws and the functioning of the federal prison system. If Congress is serious about addressing meaningful prison reform, it will pass legislation that would deal with the conditions of confinement such as reducing the use of solitary confinement, providing adequate medical care to prisoners, and addressing exorbitant prison phone rates. While we share the goal of reforming the federal prison system, the provisions of this bill, as written, do not promise real prison reform.”

The full text of the letter is available here, and the signatories are listed below.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
American Civil Liberties Union
African American Ministers in Action
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
American Humanist Association
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Buried Alive Project
Campaign for Youth Justice
CANDO Foundation
Center for Responsible Lending
Coalition on Human Needs
CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants)
Defending Rights & Dissent
Drug Policy Alliance
Equal Justice Society
Equality California
Equity Matters
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith Action Network – Washington State
Government Information Watch
Harm Reduction Coalition
Hip Hop Caucus
Human Rights Watch
Justice Strategies
Law Enforcement Action Partnership
Life for Pot
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Action Network
National Association of Social Worker
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Council of Churches
National Employment Law Project
National Hispanic Media Coalition
National Immigration Law Center
National Juvenile Justice Network
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Organization for Women
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
People For the American Way
PFLAG National
Prison Policy Initiative
Safer Foundation
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
The Decarceration Collective
The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs
We Got Us Now
334 East 92nd Street Tenant Association

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