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USCCB committee, Catholic Charities rue mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses

Catholic World News - March 31, 2014

In a joint letter to members of the US Senate, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development joined with the president of Catholic Charities USA in calling for support for the Smarter Sentencing Act.

“The bill is a modest first step in reforming our nation’s broken sentencing policies,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Father Larry Snyder. “The Smarter Sentencing Act proposes important reforms to mandatory minimum sentences by expanding current judicial sentencing options related specifically to non-violent drug offenses.”

“The US criminal justice system is the largest in the world and imprisons more people than that of any other nation,” they added. “Although national incarceration rates have dropped the last three consecutive years, the overall incarceration rate has increased 500% during the past thirty years. As of 2011, approximately 7 million people were under some form of correctional control in the United States with close to 2.2 million people incarcerated in federal, state, or local prisons and jails.”

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 01, 2014 12:05 PM ET USA

    In all charity what particular Roman Catholic outreaches exist at the present time to the imprisoned? Historically, there have been any number of canonized Saints who have exercised heroic compassion to the imprisoned, particularly those who were clearly guilty. I am aware of Chuck Colson's "Prison Fellowship..." but I am not presently aware of a corresponding Catholic outreach.

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 01, 2014 10:26 AM ET USA

    So now USCCB and Catholic Charities are holding themselves out as experts on the criminal justice system and illegal trafficking in drugs. Is there no limit to their political hubris?

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