October 01, 2015

Statement of Paulette Brown, president, American Bar Association Re: The Senate’s introduction of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 1, 2015 -- The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act unveiled today is a landmark step forward that represents the most significant criminal justice reform in decades.  It is the bipartisan result led by Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley (R-Iowa ) and Senator Durbin (D-Ill.) and joined by Senators ‎Cornyn (R-Texas), Whitehouse (D-RI), Graham (R-S.C.), Leahy (D-Vt.), Lee (R-Utah) and Booker (D-N.J.) in an effort to address a federal criminal justice system that is out-of-balance and unsustainable. The broad bipartisan support for the bill is a tribute to the hard work and the shared commitment to make progress on difficult and complex issues despite strong differences in approach.  

The proposal that has resulted from the efforts of these Senators will improve federal sentencing and corrections policies in many ways that we believe is a worthy compromise. It reflects a recognition that some of the harsh penalties adopted by lawmakers several years ago were overly broad and have resulted in disproportionate sentences, particularly for racial minorities, and have contributed to a system that has become too costly to sustain both in fiscal and human terms. This important legislation builds on the success of some states to enact “smart reforms” that reduce reliance on imprisonment for nonviolent offenders, while cutting costs and protecting public safety. 

The American Bar Association commends the Senators who have worked together in such a laudable effort to bring this critical and promising reform legislation forward. 

(Media contact: matthew.cimento@americanbar.org)

 

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