Quaker Lobby Urges Congress to Reduce Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

WASHINGTON--()--The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) urges Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that includes both sentencing reform and prison reform, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA), which approved by Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year.

“The point of the bill is to give people another bite at the apple—a chance to live a better life when they leave prison.”

“Stiff mandatory minimums and recidivism have played a huge role in the booming prison population,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) said at a breakfast meeting at the Quaker Welcome Center. “The point of the bill is to give people another bite at the apple—a chance to live a better life when they leave prison.”

Authored by Sen. Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the SRCA is currently the only bill that comprehensively addresses mass incarceration by reducing immorally high mandatory minimum sentences and improving prison programming.

“Reducing unfair criminal sentencing is pivotal to seriously addressing mass incarceration and restoring communities,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for FCNL. “We appreciate how fervently Chairman Grassley has championed this bipartisan bill. We strongly support the SRCA and want to see sentencing reform enacted as a part of criminal justice reform.”

The U.S. is currently the world leader in incarceration, largely due to an ineffective criminal justice system that overwhelmingly relies on punishment at the federal and state levels. Since the early 1980s, the population of the United States has grown 43 percent while the prison population has increased a staggering 630 percent. Sen. Grassley, who voted for mandatory minimum sentencing when he was first elected in 1981, is now a stalwart champion for sentencing reform—the key to solving the problem of mass incarceration.

“Approximately 12,000 people who’ve been unfairly sentenced—men and women who should be reunited with their families and communities—could benefit from a reduced sentence,” said José Woss, Legislative Manager at FCNL. “Each of their incarcerations cost tax payers an average of $30,000 annually. That’s $10,000 more than the cost of attending the University of Iowa for a year with in-state tuition.”

The SRCA leaves mandatory minimums in place but reduces them so that judges have more discretion in sentencing. Sen. Grassley considers this vital in ensuring that the “punishments fit the crimes” and that funding can be reallocated to properly addressing violent offenders.

Visit https://bit.ly/2s2AwH2 to learn more about FCNL’s work to overhaul the criminal justice system.


Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
Kristen Archer, 202-812-2223

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Release Summary

Quaker lobby urges Congress to pass a bipartisan bill to reduce mandatory minimum sentencing and prison reform.

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)