Thank you for contacting me about sentencing reform and our criminal justice system. I appreciate your correspondence and hope you find this response helpful.
In 1986, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which required mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain crimes in order to address concerns over drug trafficking and drug-related violence in cities across the country. While the intent of laws such as this was to punish high-level offenders more seriously and make communities safer, the effect has been to take individual discretion away from judges, often resulting in ineffective and excessive punishments for low-level offenders. Additionally, by requiring mandatory prison sentences for low-level offenders, these laws have not made communities safer and have resulted in severe overcrowding of our nation’s prisons and a large strain on federal and state budgets.
Congress has since begun to re-evaluate these broken policies, as demonstrated by the recent introduction of several bipartisan bills. The Justice Safety Valve Act would allow judges more flexibility to impose sentences tailored to the seriousness of the crime and the offender, as long as they determine that doing so would not jeopardize public safety. This measure could significantly reduce the federal prison population without reducing our safety. You may be glad to learn that I am a cosponsor of this bill. I am also a cosponsor of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize the Second Chance Act and support programs designed to improve prisoner reentry into society and reduce recidivism.
There are many other areas for potential improvement in our justice system, and I look forward to learning more about the various legislative proposals. For instance, the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act is a bill that was recently introduced that would require the Bureau of Prisons to assess the problem of recidivism and begin to offer evidence-based recidivism reduction programming for inmates.
I appreciate your insight on this issue. Our justice system was designed to provide equal justice under the law, and I will use my time in Congress to ensure that every American is afforded that right. I will keep your concerns in mind as all legislation relating to our justice system and sentencing reform moves through the Senate.
Thank you again for contacting me about this matter. I appreciate hearing from you and assure you that I will always do my best to represent the views of my constituents in the Senate. In the future, please do not hesitate to call me in my Connecticut office at (860) 549-8463 or my Washington office at (202) 224-4041.
Every Best Wish,
Christopher S. Murphy
United States Senator
Hartford, Connecticut 06103
P: (860) 549-8463
F: (860) 524-5091
Washington, DC 20510
P: (202) 224-4041
F: (202) 224-9750
Experienced Executive Director, Consultant/Strategist, Policy Analyst at The Center for Church and Prison, Inc.That was encouraging from Senator Chris Murphy… I read it. Hope more legislators could begin to look at this issue of criminal justice reform from a more holistic perspective rather than a tough on crime attitude.
Wow! I am amazed and very pleased with Senator Murphy’s involvement. It would be wonderful if more of our Senators and Congressmen would take the same approach.National Chaplain at National Incarcerated Veterans NetworkUSAAdd a comment…We do keep our leaders in our prayers.President, Browns Business EnterprisesKudo’s to Senator Murphy! This is our year…all of us who have labored for years to make change for those incarcerated, ex-offender’s and underserved in this county! Our season is hear…confirmation through Senator Murphy’s comments.
Jeff, I believe this is an inappropriate use of this forum for your political purposes, even if I agree with them.My response:Thank you for your message. I sit on five nonprofit boards supporting prison related issues. I sent the Senator a letter and he replied, I thought it was great. I don’t know him, I don’t particularly support him or not and I don’t even care what political party was a member of. He wrote a letter on point for our causes, I published it and promoted it. I hope this was helpful.
Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Christ Church Greenwich
254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 06830
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Floor
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA 06604
Lynn Springer, Advocate