The following post originally appeared on the Justice Fellowship blog.
In a perfect world, people wouldn’t commit crimes. They wouldn’t hurt one another or themselves.
In a perfect imperfect world, people who committed crimes would receive a just punishment, one that was proportionate to the harm they had caused. Wrongdoing would receive a right response.
We don’t live in a perfect world, and on this side of eternity, to strive for it would be foolish. We are unable to alter or eradicate the sin nature of the human race. Only the Lord will accomplish this when He returns to “make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
The perfect imperfect world, however, is one that we should be working to establish—a world where the biblical principles of restorative justice are integrated into the systems of governance, providing the foundation of the criminal justice system.
Justice Fellowship has been working to advance more proportionate sentencing for non-violent federal drug offenses in the federal criminal justice system by supporting the Smarter Sentencing Act. While the former version of the bill did not pass during the last legislative session, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have re-introduced it.
Restorative justice requires criminal punishments to fit the crime. This is critical to the restoration of those who have committed crimes, as well as to the well-being of families and communities.
“The federal corrections system is filled with people serving disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. Not only is this a waste of taxpayer dollars and human capital, but an unconscionable loss for all too many children who know the loneliness that comes from having an incarcerated mom or dad,” says Craig DeRoche, the executive director of Justice Fellowship, Prison Fellowship’s criminal justice advocacy arm.
If passed, the Smarter Sentencing Act would improve the federal prison system by lowering certain mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses and allowing prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses prior to the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to petition for a sentence reduction consistent with the current law. In addition, the Smarter Sentencing Act would expand eligibility criteria for the federal “safety valve,” which allows judges to sentence below the mandatory minimum where certain factors are satisfied.
Please join Justice Fellowship in our efforts to pass the Smarter Sentencing Act. Click here to let your legislators know of your support!