NOTE: Pax Christi USA signed onto this letter from the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition to House leadership regarding passage of three critical criminal justice reform bills.
Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:
Our faith communities are on the front lines in neighborhoods ravaged by a broken criminal justice system. From our vantage point, we see this nation’s reliance on mass incarceration to solve drug addiction, poverty, mental illness and joblessness as an affront to justice and human dignity. As people of faith, we are called to comfort and serve those harmed by crime and support accountability, rehabilitation and restoration for those who offend. To that end, we are joined in our commitment to advancing bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives that honors these beliefs through meaningful criminal justice reform.
We applaud the good bipartisan leadership and hard work of the House’s Judiciary Committee that led to committee passage of three important bills: the Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713), the Corrections and Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 759) and the Second Chance Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3406). Together these bills would reduce harsh sentences, incentivize prison rehabilitation, ban shackling of pregnant women in federal custody and expand opportunities for Americans returning home after incarceration. We urge you to support H.R. 3713, H.R. 759 and H.R. 3406, and to act quickly to bring these bills for a floor vote as a package.
A federal prison crisis is looming due to overcrowding caused by excessive mandatory minimum sentences and a prison system with limited rehabilitative opportunities. Our moral sensibility compels faith leaders across the country to advocate for reform and we can no longer wait for action. To miss the opportunity to pass new criminal justice reform legislation would be a major setback for thousands of people awaiting justice and a fairer sentencing system and in need of rehabilitative support…