Criminal Justice Reform on the Move!

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 - a sweeping bill that committee chairman Chuck Grassley has called the “most significant criminal justice reform in a decade.” Grassley (R-Iowa) was previously a strong opponent of sentencing reform, but a concerted advocacy effort on the part of the faith community and other partners helped to change his mind.

The bill passed through committee with a strong bi-partisan vote of 15-5 and is supported by the White House, the Justice Department, police chiefs across the country, faith-based organizations, and many other advocates for fairer sentencing and prison reform. This legislation is a positive first step towards greater fairness in sentencing, reducing recidivism, focusing on successful re-entry to society, and creating an efficient, cost-effective prison system.

It is noteworthy that this bill is one of the few bi-partisan efforts that appears to have a likelihood of becoming law. A similar bill has been introduced in the House Judiciary Committee by Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA). Furthermore, the Senate's process to gain support and facilitate compromise is a model that should be replicated for future bi-partisan policy efforts. This bill provides hope that Congress can bridge divides and pass much needed criminal justice reform.

Now is the time to urge your senator to vote yes on S. 2123 - the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.