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A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061,

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Senate Sentencing Reform Package Introduction


Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the bipartisan introduction of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015:

"Today marks a unique moment in our history and an important step forward in making long overdue reforms to our justice system. Under the strong leadership of Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Dick Durbin, and the commitment of Senators Leahy, Whitehouse, Cornyn, Lee, Schumer, Booker, Graham and Scott, this bill represents the most robust bipartisan effort at criminal justice reform in years.

Thirty years of 'tough on crime' sentencing has created an unjust system that imprisons more people than in any other nation in the world, a disproportionate number of whom are Black, Latino, low-income, and nonviolent. We have learned that we cannot imprison our way to safety.

The bill makes important strides to address the most egregious mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders. It will help to right past wrongs by retroactively applying the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to over 6,000 men and women currently in prison. And it will provide pathways to rehabilitation for current prisoners without compromising public safety.

This harmonic convergence of left and right - of civil rights and small government advocates - represents a coalition of conscience that can carry this legislation to the White House. We applaud the effort and look forward to working with the co-sponsors on this legislation.

We appreciate the bipartisan spirit in which this important bill was negotiated and the determination of Chairman Grassley and his colleagues to reach an agreement and we hope that the bipartisan spirit will carry on to other pressing civil rights issues."

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

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 civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society - an America as good as its ideals.

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