Prison Fellowship works to translate restorative justice principles into policy solutions. Restorative justice is deeply rooted in the concept that each person has intrinsic value and the capacity for change. We believe restorative justice is the key to building a better criminal justice system. To that end, we have defined a restorative justice framework to guide our nation's efforts to reform our ineffective, expensive, and broken criminal justice system, and we support legislation that upholds the principles of our framework. .
Policy Solution: the Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 502/H.R. 920) A summary of each section of the bill is available here.
Lead Sponsors and Status: Introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) in the House and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in the Senate.
Check out current House cosponsors and actions taken on the House bill.
Check out current Senate cosponsors and actions taken on the Senate bill.
What It does: The bill expands the safety value for those convicted of non-violent drug offenses, allows those sentenced prior to the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 to petition to have their sentences reduced in accordance with current law; reduces mandatory minimums for certain non-violent offenses; directs the Sentencing Commission to make policy changes in accordance with the Smarter Sentencing Act; and mandates greater transparency and fiscal responsibility within the Department of Justice and their sentencing practices.
How It Advances Restorative Justice: In our restorative justice framework, the principle of "proportional punishment" requires that criminal punishment rightly correspond to the seriousness of the offense, the responsible party's intent, and sentences imposed for the same crime in other cases. The Smarter Sentencing Act promotes the value of proportional punishment by addressing excessive sentences for those convicted of federal drug offenses.
How You Can Take Action:
1. Write your legislator today! Request that they cosponsor the Smarter Sentencing Act! With our easy online advocacy tool, it only takes a few clicks to make sure your voice is heard by Congress.
2. Spread the word. After you send your email, post the link to Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets and invite your friends to do likewise!
Justice Fellowship's Work on Smarter Sentencing: In April 2015, Justice Fellowship joined letters in support of the Smarter Sentencing Act from conservative leaders and faith-based organizations, which were sent to the House and Senate Judiciary Chairs and Ranking Members. Additionally, over 100 faith leaders in Iowa wrote Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley requesting that he reform sentencing laws.