Pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act

Ministers march in Washington DC

The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 (S.1917) is important bipartisan legislation advancing needed reforms in sentencing and reentry provisions.

Harsh sentencing measures—such as mandatory minimums, “three-strike” laws with life sentences, other laws targeting vulnerable communities have been shown to be major contributors to the ongoing crisis of mass incarceration in the U.S. These measures have also contributed to the systemic racism institutionalized in this crisis; the U.S. Sentencing Commission reported in 2016, about 70 percent of mandatory minimums are imposed on African American and Latino/a individuals. The lack of adequate rehabilitative and reentry support is another component that contributes to recidivism, or the return of formerly-incarcerated persons to prison, and worsens this crisis. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act addresses these issues with a comprehensive approach that lowers mandatory minimums and improves prison rehabilitation.

As United Methodists, we advocate for a justice system that is healing, restorative, and humane (cf. BOR 5031, Humanizing Criminal Justice). This legislation, and the broad bipartisan consensus it represents, are a critical step forward for criminal justice reform.

We ask you to join us in lifting your voice.