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USCCB: reduce mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses

July 21, 2014

The chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has backed the US Sentencing Commission’s efforts to reduce mandatory prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

“Rigid sentences for nonviolent offenses are not only costly and ineffective, but can be detrimental to the good of persons, families, and communities,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami in a recent letter. “Prolonged incarceration often contributes to family instability and poverty and can contribute to recidivism.”

“Our Catholic tradition supports the community’s right to establish and enforce laws that protect people and advance the common good,” added the prelate, who was joined by Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “But our faith teaches us that both victims and offenders have a God-given dignity that calls for justice and restoration, not vengeance. Contrition, restitution and rehabilitation can better serve the cause of justice than simply punishment for the sake of punishment.”


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