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  • Smarter Sentencing Act- we need you to call Congress!


    Alliance of Baptists -- at our Annual Meeting in Portland, Maine, we unanimously passed a statement about mass incarceration. One small step in reducing mass incarceration would be if the Smarter Sentencing bill would pass in the U.S. Congress. It has bipartisan support and would reduce racially disparate mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and allow current prisoners serving outdated sentences for crack cocaine offenses to apply for a sentence reduction. Alliance of Baptists -- please join many ecumenical and interfaith partners in making calls to U.S. Senators on Wednesday, June 4th.

    Call U.S. Senate -- Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Support Smarter Sentencing

    The bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act has successfully passed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and is now poised for a vote by the full Senate this month. The legislation would reduce racially disparate mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and allow current prisoners serving outdated sentences for crack cocaine offenses to apply for a sentence reduction.

    Federal prisons are crowded with people serving excessive sentences for low-level and nonviolent drug crimes. Mandatory minimums have contributed to an 800% increase in the size of the federal prison population since 1980. This expensive system continues to grow and is squeezing out needed funding for crime prevention, victim services, and reentry. Congress must act now to stop this damaging trend.

    On Wednesday, June 4, please call the Capitol Switchboard TWICE by dialing 1-888-427-0484 and ask to speak to your state’s senators. Urge them to support the Smarter Sentencing Act, S. 1410, and request that their Senate leaders bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote this month.

    You can use this simple script and talking points when you make your Senate calls.

    Hi, my name is , and as a constituent and [insert your member communion – eg United Methodist, Episcopal, American Baptist, etc…] I urge Senator to support the Smarter Sentencing Act, S. 1410, and ask that the Senator tell Senate leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. Thank you for passing along my concerns.

    Suggested talking points:

    • As a person of faith, I am concerned about the harsh mandatory minimum sentences Congress passed almost 30-years ago. They have created racial disparity in federal prisons and resulted in an 800% increase in the prison population since 1980.
    • The bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act is an incremental sentencing reform that would reduce the excessive penalties for low-level drug offenses. I support its passage and urge you to support it as well.
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Smarter Sentencing Act and it is ready for a vote in the full Senate. Please urge Senate leadership to bring the bill to the floor for an immediate vote.

    In your conversation be sure to identify yourself as a constituent and thank the staff for listening to your concerns. Once you have completed both of your calls, please email kgotsch@umc-gbcs.org with any feedback you received from the office.