In a joint letter to the House Committee on the Judiciary, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called on members of the Committee to support the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713). In particular, we stressed support for the following provisions:
- Reduce mandatory sentencing terms for several drug offenses
- Make the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive
- Expand drug “safety valve” exception for nonviolent drug offenders
CCUSA and USCCB support the community’s right to establish and enforce laws that protect people and the common good. But our faith also teaches us that both victims of crime and offenders have an inherent dignity that calls for justice and restoration, not vengeance. Rigid, one-size-fits-all sentencing policies can be detrimental to the good of persons, families and communities. Government should support effective programs aimed at crime prevention, rehabilitation, education efforts and programs of probation instead of spending unnecessarily on incarceration.