‘CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM’ TAKING OFF:
Bipartisan Summit Set For Wednesday;
New Website Launched;
Online Petitions Hit 80,000
#cut50 Co-hosts Fair Justice Summit, Launches Petition & Website
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Obama’s push last week for legislation to fix the criminal justice system, the extraordinary momentum for a comprehensive, bipartisan bill continues to build.
The #cut50 campaign, a national criminal justice reform initiative, is playing a pivotal role this week in three noteworthy developments:
- On Wednesday, together with the Coalition for Public Safety, #cut50 is co-hosting a bipartisan “Fair Justice Summit.” This gathering will bring together some of the nation’s leading voices for reform, including U.S Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. House Chairman Bob Goodlatte, U.S Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), U.S Rep. Bobby Scott (D- VA), U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R- Wisc.), and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yeats, to discuss solutions for fixing our nation’s criminal justice system.
- #cut50 has launched a website to call on our national leaders to move quickly on comprehensive criminal justice reform
- The site boasts a petition aimed at our national leaders. The language of the petition is also elsewhere online, including petitions hosted by MoveOn.org and Credo Action. Altogether, more than 80,000 people have signed the petition – a number that continues to grow.
Last month, Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) and Scott (D-Va.) introduced the SAFE Justice Act, which focuses on catching career criminals and violent offenders, rather than those who pose no danger to others. It would reform mandatory minimums and use alternative sentencing like probation, drug courts, and medical treatment for addiction and mental illness. The legislation offers comprehensive reforms—from reforming police practices to helping people succeed after they’re released.
After the President’s speech and visit to a federal prison, GOP Speaker John Boehner indicated he would bring the SAFE Justice Act to the floor of the House. (During the speech, President Obama commended #cut50 co-founder Van Jones, along with Newt Gingrich, for bipartisan efforts.)
“The president demonstrated courage and candor, and now the Speaker has shown that same courage and candor,” said Van Jones, co-founder of #cut50, a national criminal justice reform initiative. “Something extraordinary is happening in Washington, D.C.”
“We have an historic, bipartisan breakthrough on one of our toughest issues.” Jones said. “We have too many prisons with too many people serving too-long sentences, for too many offenses, who then come home too damaged. Now’s our chance to change that. Failing to pass comprehensive reform now would be like fumbling the ball at the one yard line. ”
In March, #cut50 brought together leaders from opposite ends of the political spectrum (from Newt Gingrich to the ACLU) for an historic summit on criminal justice reform. Since then, momentum has been building towards a comprehensive solution.
#cut50 is a Dream Corps initiative that works across party lines to safely and smartly reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years.