Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Civil and Human Rights Coalition Hails Justice Department “Smart on Crime” Initiative
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Westbrook Simpson, 202.466.2061, email@example.com
August 12, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on today’s speech by Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the “Smart on Crime” initiative which proposes to avert charges that trigger disastrous and expensive mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders and find alternative, more appropriate rehabilitative programs. The initiative also intends to reduce unjust sentences for some inmates who have already paid their debt to society:
“Today’s announcement marks the most significant proposal ever put forth by the Justice Department to reform our nation’s disastrous criminal justice system.
For years, our justice system has treated dangerous criminals in the same manner as non-violent men and women. Instead of appropriate punishment and rehabilitation, the system destroys far too many lives and costs our nation tens of billions of dollars each year.
This has created a modern day caste system in America, where millions people – mostly African Americans, Latinos, and low-income Whites – are marked with a scarlet letter that erects permanent barriers to getting a job or an education and to reintegrate into society.
By averting misdirected mandatory minimum sentences that tie the hands of law enforcement, the administration is taking concrete steps to rehabilitate drug users instead of warehousing them in expensive and often violent prisons. And by revisiting the sentencing of some current non-violent inmates who have already paid their debt to society, the Justice Department can reduce the enormous cost of warehousing inmates and start the healing process for families and communities who have been kept from their loved ones for far too long.
We commend today’s announcement and look forward to working with the Justice Department to implement these important policies.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.