You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Support Bipartisan #JusticeReformNOW.
1 out of every 100 Americans is behind bars. The U.S. spends $80 billion a year on incarceration. 70 million Americans have a criminal record. In too many neighborhoods, young people of color are more likely to go to prison than college.
Over the course of this year, those stats — straight out of Cut50’s campaign supporting bipartisan criminal justice reform — have lead to an unlikely alliance of traditional ideological adversaries like The ACLU and Koch Industries. With the left and the right backing a reduction in the inmate population, legislation has actually been introduced in the House and Senate.
As reported in NPR, Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, is behind the bill because: "The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is the most substantial criminal justice reform legislation introduced since the inception of the 'tough on crime' movement and is the best indication we have that those days are over.”
Families Against Mandatory Minimums is also supporting the legislation. President Julie Stewart acknowledges that it isn’t perfect, but says "it is a substantial improvement over the status quo and will fix some of the worst injustices.”
The House bill — the SAFE Justice Act — and the Senate bill — the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act — propose system-wide reforms to reduce over-criminalization, enhance rehabilitation, support individuals’ rebuilding after prison terms, reform federal prison sentencing, and reduce automatic and harsh punishments like “three strikes” laws.
Visit JusticeReformNow.org to sign the Cut50 petition, which is approaching 200,000 signatures — it turns out criminal justice reform is also popular with celebrity activists and the general public! You can also join in demanding that Congress take action to roll back the incarceration industry in America by following the #JusticeReformNOW & #Cut50 hashtags.
We already know this Congress is loathe to do anything besides push deadlines on the budget and investigate Planned Parenthood without a public outcry. Let’s make sure they can hear us loud and clear.
“Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act” — the full legislation
"Senators Announce Bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act” — announcement from the Judiciary Committee
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #959 "The need to do better (Mass Incarceration)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich