Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to vote on a bill called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act – the most significant criminal justice reform legislation to be considered by Congress in the last five years. It will essentially ban juvenile solitary confinement in the federal system and retroactively reduce overly harsh drug sentences.
What would it mean if we pass this bill? We would finally roll back some deeply damaging and discriminatory policies that started as part of the War on Drugs. This includes retroactively reducing some overly harsh mandatory minimums and the number of people subjected to them – critical measures to fix our bloated prison system and issue sentences that actually fit the crimes.
It also means that we would stop subjecting young people in federal prisons to severe isolation with no human contact for days or months – a practice that can amount to torture. We’ve seen solitary confinement’s devastating consequences for children: extreme psychological damage, increased suicide rates, and stunted development.
Mass incarceration is an utter failure as public policy. It has a devastating impact on those who become ensnared in the system. It disproportionately harms poor communities of color. It is unnecessarily extreme and it fails to produce a proportional increase in public safety.
Sign the petition to support this bill! Tell your senators to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act!
Get more details about the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and track its progress through Congress at GovTrack.us.