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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Introduction of Bill Expanding Judicial Discretion in Federal Sentencing

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
March 20, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the Senate’s bipartisan introduction today of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, a bill that would give judges more flexibility to use their discretion and deviate from federal mandatory minimum sentences:

“We applaud the Senate’s bipartisan introduction of the Justice Safety Valve Act, which will give judges more discretion in sentencing. This bill will go a long way toward slowing the growth of our already overcrowded prison system and as a result, will save taxpayers money.

Our justice system’s overreliance on mandatory minimum sentencing is a major reason our prison system incarcerates more people than any other industrialized nation in the world, a disproportionate number of whom are Black and Brown. In fact, our overcrowded prisons are almost entirely the result of the mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders, who make up nearly half of all federal offenders, not violent criminals.

It is time for reforms to our criminal justice system that protect public safety and make the system more just and reasonable. The Act is a commonsense reform that will ensure that offenders don’t get more prison time than is necessary to keep us safe, and it will help save scarce prison space and resources for people who are a real threat to the community. We urge Congress to pass this important legislation without delay.”

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.

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