By Diane Clarke - email@example.com - (530) 756-4272
VOP, Sacramento Diocesan Council
Mediator and Co-Leader of Restorative Practices Program, Yolo Conflict Resolution Center (YCRC)
Vincentian efforts for systemic change include a focus on Restorative Justice, and these efforts align closely with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ passionate affirmation that “through the lens of solidarity, those who commit crimes and are hurt by crime are not issues or problems; they are sisters and brothers, members of one human family. Solidarity calls us to insist on responsibility and seek alternatives that do not simply punish, but rehabilitate, heal, and restore.”
The Smarter Sentencing Act would reform mandatory minimum sentences by expanding current judicial sentencing options for nonviolent drug offenses. It would also permit crack cocaine offenders to seek lighter sentences under the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220) was an Act of Congress signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on August 3, 2010. The law reduced the disparity between the amount of crack cocaine and powder cocaine and eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, among other provisions.
The Second Chance Reauthorization Act would authorize federal funding for state and local government and faith-based and community organizations to provide: employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victim support, and other services to help individuals returning to the community from prison or jail. Both bills have strong bipartisan support.
If you did not have the chance yet to advocate for these bills, you can still do it now by taking action on the alert that our National President, Sheila Gilbert, issued on August 15. For this, please click on:
On September 18, Congress took a significant first step for the Second Chance Act as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize the bipartisan bill.