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Prayer Request: Prayer for Prisoners Prayer Request: Prayer for Prisoners

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Federal Inmates USP Pollock LA

Prayer for Prisoners (Mar 18, 2016)

Prayer Request:
  Please pray for retroactive sentencing reform for those inmates impacted by 18 USC 924 c sentencing rules.  Many of these inmates are serving 25 – 100+ year sentences without any present avenue for relief.  They too, deserve to experience God’s grace! A historic, bipartisan effort in both houses of Congress is underway to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws. I’m writing to express my support and ask for your help improving one of the bills that would make some positive changes: the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, S. 2123. This bill, if passed into law, is a good first step to fixing our expensive and ineffective mandatory sentencing laws. But historic opportunity calls for historic reform – and this bill should be improved to do more. If passed, S. 2123 would reduce and make more reasonable some of the harshest, most expensive mandatory minimum prison sentences served by nonviolent drug and gun possession offenders. It would also give courts more flexibility in drug cases to make the punishment fit the crime and each offender, and help reserve the longest mandatory minimum sentences for higher-level drug offenders. Finally, it would make many of these sentencing reforms and the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive, saving taxpayers money and increasing respect for the justice system. But S. 2123 fails to fix some of the most unjust, expensive, and ineffective aspects of mandatory sentencing laws. Before the bill is passed, it should be improved so that • Mandatory minimum sentences are not created or expanded. This bill would apply harsh, expensive 10, 15-, and 25-year mandatory minimum sentences to many new people. Congress should be repealing mandatory minimums, not creating more of them. • Address the special needs of the addicted, mentally ill, veterans, and domestic abuse survivors. Courts currently have no flexibility to adjust or disregard mandatory minimum sentences for offenders whose crimes were the result of untreated addiction, combat-related trauma, mental illness, or trauma or coercion resulting from domestic abuse. States use more treatment and less incarceration for these offenders, and so should Congress. • Give low-level drug offenders sentences that fit their role in the crime. Under current law, minor dealers charged with conspiracy are held accountable for all the drugs and guns possessed and sold by everyone involved in the crime, regardless of whether they assisted with or even knew of these others’ activities. People should only be sentenced for the drugs they personally knew about or sold. • Give retroactive sentencing relief to all prisoners whose sentences are changed by the bill. Getting a fair punishment shouldn’t depend on the date a person went to court – especially because these sentences have always been unjust. Before anyone can get a retroactive sentence reduction, a court will have to look at each prisoner individually to determine if they are a public safety risk. Some people may want to exclude some groups of people from retroactivity – please don’t support such efforts. Giving relief to some people but not others decreases respect for the justice system and wastes taxpayer dollars by keeping some people in prison longer even though they are not dangerous. • Focus mandatory minimum sentences on gun use during a crime. Under current law, mere presence of even a lawfully-owned gun is enough to subject people to harsh mandatory minimum drug and gun possession sentences. The law should give courts flexibility to distinguish between those who possess guns and those who use guns to commit crimes. I’m glad Congress is considering sentencing reform. Please support this legislation and do everything you can to make sure it fixes the problems I mentioned here. Thank you .  

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