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December 11, 2013

"Take Action: National Call-In Day for Sentencing Reform TODAY"

The title of this post is the heading of an e-mail I received this morning from The Sentencing Project.  Here is the body of the e-mail request for action:

After decades of "get tough" rhetoric, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are finally coming together to say “enough.”

This week, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up legislation to address our unjust and racially discriminatory sentencing laws. One of the bills expected to be considered at this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410), takes two significant steps forward.  First, it reduces overly harsh penalties for drug offenses and allows judges greater flexibility in sentencing. Second, it extends the more equitable crack cocaine provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively to individuals serving prison terms under the now discredited 100-to-1 quantity disparity -- a disparity that has had a devastating impact on African American communities.

We need your help. On Wednesday, Dec. 11, civil rights and criminal justice advocates, faith-based groups, and others are joining together to tell their Senators to support sentencing reform.

To join this effort, please call the Senate switchboard TODAY at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to each of the Senators from your state. When you are connected, urge your Senator to address unjust sentences and racial disparities in the criminal justice system by supporting the Smarter Sentencing Act, S. 1410.

By modernizing drug sentencing polices and giving federal judges more discretion in sentencing, we can take smart and targeted steps to reduce skyrocketing prison populations and reduce racial disparities in sentencing.

I have tended to be cynical and pessimistic about the import and impact of these kinds of call-in days, but folks who know a lot better than me have reported that they can be quite valuable and consequential.

December 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Permalink


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"When you are connected, urge your Senator to address
unjust sentences and
racial disparities
in the criminal justice system by supporting the
Smarter Sentencing Act, S. 1410."

Now that we know the unjust and racist nature of this Act,
we can confidently oppose its passage. Thank you, Prof. Berman.

Posted by: Adamakis | Dec 11, 2013 1:03:27 PM

The sentencing reform and smarter sentencing act should apply to all state and federal prison inmates. To weed out the good and bad and to save all time and money. I don't think murderers child molesters and sex offenders and repeated offenders should be mixed with other individuals. Should weed out the good and bad. This should apply to State and federal to save all time and money.

Posted by: Lisa McDaniel | Dec 13, 2013 11:40:50 PM

I agree Sentencing Reform needs to weed out good and bad. Let all go who are not threat to society who proven good behavior. Except proven deliberate acts such as Murderers,child molesters,rapist, sex offenders should remain and be separated from others. The ones with life sentences have nothing to loose harming someone because they not getting out. These inmates should not have access to knives, etc. they are the mean ones. Those who are no harm release them home. Compassionate Release needs to be honored for state prison. I need my husband home, I have Traumatic Head Injury, I have medical records and doctors orders and a lot medical issues and need my husband home. He is no threat to no one. We should qualify for Compassionate Release. This law was passed in 2010. Like judge baxley 45 page ruling for SCDC for plan for care of inmates and budget and reform, this will help cost and overcrowding and to honor rights.

Posted by: Lisa McDaniel | Jan 26, 2014 8:13:22 PM

I am concerned citizen who is for human rights, who supports sentencing reform and compassionate release for state

Posted by: Lisa McDaniel | Jan 26, 2014 8:16:28 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB