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My family suffered because of inhumane mandatory minimum sentencing 5 years ago. Now is the times to take concrete steps toward fixing this broken system.

Nadia's picture

I know firsthand how harmful our country's harsh sentencing policies can be for children and families. When my father was incarcerated for a non-violent drug charge it was devastating for our family. He was a veteran with no prior criminal history, but due to our country’s harsh sentencing laws, he was locked away instead of getting the counseling and treatment that he needed for his mental illness.

He was also our primary breadwinner. My father’s imprisonment was disastrous for us emotionally and economically. It forced us to move into public housing, rely on food stamps, and led me to finance my own college education. The massive student loan debt I have accrued has had far-reaching negative impacts on my economic mobility.

My family's story is one of many. Currently 54 percent of inmates are parents with children under the age of 18, this includes more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers. In fact, 2.7 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent, which breaks down to 1 in 28 children. This has created a culture of mass incarceration in which the United States now has the largest prison population and the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Click here to sign our petition to Congress

It reads:

We urge you to support H.R. 3713 and H.R. 759 this year and make it your top priority when you return to session. Our justice system is broken and it’s time to fix it. One in three Americans now has a criminal record, our prisons are overcrowded, and families are being torn apart. The legislation that’s being proposed will more fairly address how people are sentenced, and would help more people return to productive lives upon leaving prison. It's time to act on smart justice reform.

The offenses of two-thirds of incarcerated parents are nonviolent, with more than one-quarter of all convictions coming from drug offenses. Instead of increasing public safety, current sentencing laws have led to a massive sweeping of nonviolent offenders into prisons, hurting our economy, costing billions in taxpayer dollars, and fracturing families like my own

Sentencing reform was not a possibility when my family endured the effects of mass incarceration, but today there is a chance to help ensure that other families do not have to suffer meaninglessly because of our unnecessarily harsh policies toward non-violent offenders. Criminal justice reform will not only lift families, it will lift our economy.

Join us to push Congress in the next 24 hours to bring families together, strengthen our economy, and bring criminal justice reform to a vote this year! 

Members of Congress will be leaving Washington tomorrow to campaign for the election. We need to make a strong final push to call for a vote for Criminal Justice Reform this year, which includes the Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713) and the Recidivism Risk Reduction Act (H.R. 759).

These reforms will strengthen rehabilitation programs and reform the “three strikes” penalty that mandated life sentences for certain individuals by reducing it to a term of 25 years. Judges will be given more discretion to sentence below prescribed mandatory minimums by the expansion of the existing “safety valve” and it will give judges the ability to depart from certain mandatory minimums. These measures work toward ensuring that strict mandatory minimums are not imposed on individuals who have little or no criminal history and whose alleged conduct was not the sort envisioned by these strict penalties.

Tell your member of Congress: Our criminal justice system is broken and millions of families and children are suffering. It’s ineffective, expensive and is not making our communities any safer and it’s up to you to fix it!

Current policies are very costly. Not only is it costly to not have rehabilitative programs (for example In-prison vocational programs produced a return of $12.62 for every dollar invested) but the continued growth of incarceration in America perpetuates cycles of poverty, especially for communities of color

We need smart reform now that will positively impact millions of families across the country, reduce the billions of taxpayer dollars we’re spending on the federal justice system and improve public safety. Take action now!

Join us in a 24 hour push Congress to bring criminal justice reform to a vote in 2016!

Together we can push our Congress to take a step in the right direction for families.


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