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ALERT: Congress Must Pass Sentencing Reform

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #700)
Politics & Advocacy

Twenty-five years ago Congress enacted severe mandatory minimum sentences, condemning thousands of mostly low-level, mostly nonviolent drug offenders to years, sometimes decades in prison. In part because of these and similar "sentencing guideline" penalties, the United States now suffers from an incarceration rate unprecedented in the history of our own country or any other.

Last year Congress took a modest step in the right direction, unanimously passing the Fair Sentencing Act -- raising the quantities of crack cocaine needed to trigger certain infamous five- and ten-year sentences, and eliminating mandatory minimums for crack possession. But much, much more is needed to address these unjust and exorbitantly expensive sentencing laws.

Please write Congress today to call for passage of the following important bills:

  • H.R. 2303, the "Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act," sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) -- eliminates mandatory minimums to reduce the incentive prosecutors have to go after large numbers of low-level offenders.
  • H.R. 2316 and H.R. 2242, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), bills to make last year's crack sentencing reforms retroactive; and to continue the reform by eliminating "cocaine base" from the federal code entirely, thereby reducing penalties further to reach the same level as powder cocaine offenses.

When you are done, please make a call, send a letter or pay a visit to your US Representative and your two US Senators to urge them to pass sentencing reform -- you can reach them via the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or look them up on our web site. Please use our tell-a-friend form to spread the word about this important legislation too.

Every day that passes without sentencing reform is a day that thousands of people who don't need to be in prison, who may have never deserved to go there, continue to languish needlessly behind bars, separated from their friends and families who want them back. Thank you for taking action.

Ongoing reporting on drug sentencing is available on our web site
here, or by RSS feed here.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


PragmaticPrinciples (not verified)

I am against H.R 2303 the "Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act" and I have not even read the bill. Let me tell you why I am against it. This bill in all likely hood will INCREASE penalties against people possessing and selling recreational drugs. All this is doing is reinforcing this idea that possessing and selling the state deemed illegal recreational drugs, is somehow a crime! You want to support a measure which will put tens of thousands of people in cages FOR LIFE? Just so others can get off much easier? No. I oppose this bill and oppose the Democrats and Republican wings of the United War Party. Every politicians and voter of that party is committing and aiding major war crimes both in the drug war and in imperialist wars. If you want to oppose the drug war, oppose these parties that is the pragmatic and obvious way of ending this drug war.

If you think you are going to somehow cooperate with parties who oppress and murder you and others and gain freedom you are naive and counterproductive to really ending this drug war. Build the coalition - oppose the United War Party!

Tue, 09/13/2011 - 9:24pm Permalink

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