As we continue to work towards a future where fairness and equity are guaranteed for all, we’re focused on solutions to downsize our federal prison system. Our federal priorities for the 117th Congress and Biden Administration aimed to reduce the number of people incarcerated, reform inhumane conditions of confinement, bring people home faster, and put them in a better position to succeed when they come home.
Dream Corps JUSTICE’s Criminal Justice Priorities for the 117th Congress
In today’s tough political environment, even bipartisan legislation requires support from advocates like you. These are all federal bills or administrative actions that will improve our federal system. If you or a loved one have personally been impacted by one of the policies below, or you just want to get involved, please let us know.
Reverse Mass Incarceration Act
Summary: A new $20 billion dollar grant program to incentivize states to decrease the number of people incarcerated in state prisons and to lower crime rates in the state. Money spent under this bill goes to both public and private programs that decrease incarceration and crime. This bill is called the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act because it is the opposite of the incentives under the 1994 crime bill.
Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act
Summary: Would end the practice of judges increasing sentences based on conduct for which a person has been *acquitted* by a jury. Amazingly, federal judges can still increase peoples’ sentences for crimes they were originally charged with, even when they are acquitted.
Smarter Sentencing Act
Summary: This bill would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and would allow those sentenced prior to the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act to petition to have their sentences reduced. It would reduce 15 year mandatory minimum sentences to 10 years, 10 year mandatory minimum sentences to 5 years, and 5 year mandatory minimum sentences to 2 years.
Smarter Pretrial Detention for Drug Charges Act
Summary: This bill would eliminate the presumption of pretrial detention for most federal drug offenses, and allow judges more discretion on pretrial detention for drug charges.
Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act
Summary: This bill would train correctional officers on how to handle victims of trauma, make telephone calls and video-conferencing free for incarcerated people, provide health products free for incarcerated people, restrict employees from entering restrooms of incarcerated people of the opposite sex in most circumstances, and create an overnight visit program for children and parents. We have passed many similar bills at the state level through our Dignity for Incarcerated Women campaign.
First Step Act Implementation
Summary: The 2018 First Step Act helped get people out of prison through sentencing reforms, enhanced anti-recidivism programming to further education and train people for jobs, and improved conditions in federal prisons for incarcerated people. This bill requires additional funding to help more people get ready for reentry, and also requires reforms to fix some remaining issues regarding sentencing reforms.
George Floyd Justice In Policing Act
Summary: This bill ensures prosecution of constitutional violations by law enforcement, creates a registry for complaints and records of police misconduct, requires body camera usage and training on implicit bias and racial profiling, bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants in certain cases and redirects funding to community-based policing programs.
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Oversight
Summary: The BOP confines over 151,000 people and are responsible for ensuring the safety of incarcerated people and facilitating reentry. The federal government can enact significant reforms at BOP, which are especially necessary during the pandemic in which thousands of incarcerated people have become infected and many have died. Dream Corps JUSTICE will play an active role in BOP Oversight hearings over the next few years.
Summary: The War on Drugs has ravaged communities of color for 50 years. In the 1980s, Congress made the penalties for crack 100 times the penalty for powder cocaine, leading to decades-long prison sentences. The EQUAL Act would simply create 1:1 penalties for crack and powder cocaine, bringing thousands home from prison, and shortening future sentences.