Restoring Earned Early Release The Petition for Relief from Drug War Injustice
In the mid 1980s Congress abolished parole and passed harsh drug sentencing laws. Many states followed, creating a ten-fold increase in the number of drug offenders incarcerated. We have lost cherished legal traditions and endured many other unintended consequences due to destructive anti-drug laws (prohibition).
It is illogical to spend tax dollars on long imprisonment when other means have proven far more effective in addressing the social problems of drug abuse and addiction. State leaders across the U.S. are reforming rigid sentencing guidelines, drug and parole policies. We urge federal leaders to do the same: Provide prisoners with an incentive to maintain exemplary behavior in prison and earn early release.
Earned, early release would foster incentives toward cooperation, study, and learning skills that help create a safer environment for staff and prisoners alike. Families could be reunited earlier, with better prospects for prisoners' successful reentry into society.
High costs of incarcerating drug offenders would be dramatically reduced - with a 2008 budget of $5.4 billion, the US Bureau of Prisons incarcerates over 108,000 drug law violators (54% of federal prisoners), costing almost $3 billion annually.*
Inhumane prison overcrowding would be relieved -- the federal system is 37% over capacity and growing more than 3% per year.
We, the undersigned, support November Coalition's demand for relief from drug war injustice through a revival of federal parole and/or a dramatic increase in good-time eligibility of prisoners in federal custody.
EXAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTIVE !!!!!!!!
Representative ____________ _________ _________ _________ _:
I am writing this letter to heighten your awareness of an issue that needs immediate attention: prison reform. I am also requesting your support and co-sponsorship of H.R. 1475, The Federal Prison Work Incentive Act, introduced by Rep. Davis, III.
I realize that taking a soft-on-crime stance can be an unpopular road to travel. What is being proposed is hardly about being soft on crime or creating an unsafe environment; it is all about recognizing inequities that exist all over our country and allowing PEOPLE opportunities for growth and change. The current situation in our Federal System is in desperate need for change.
The majority of your constituents are unaware that sentencing in the Federal System is hugely different from that of the State System. Most people believe that federally sentenced individuals have the availability of parole and that their sentencing is brief. This cannot be further from the truth. Many people see State Sentencing and apply that thinking to their concerns. They hear about murderers, rapists, terrorists and child molesters receiving short sentences and they are disgusted. I know of no one person who understands nor supports sentencing someone who robbed a bank to 55 years with no chance of considerable good time or parole, much less support sentencing first-time non-violent drug offenders to 10 years, 20 years, 30 years…life sentences.
The reality is PEOPLE CAN CHANGE! PEOPLE DO CHANGE!
Imagine how sad all relationships (marriages, parent/child, teacher/student, friendships, and so on) would be if humans did not have the ability to grow and mature. Imagine how sad these relationships would be if humans did not have the ability to forgive and encourage that growth, maturity and change. Relationships would cease to exist because
WE ARE HUMAN; WE DO MAKE MISTAKES! EVERYONE
makes mistakes and we can only work towards becoming better.
I am not asking you to open the flood gates. I am asking you to become an advocate for more humane treatment and I am asking you to BELIEVE in all persons' ability to learn from their mistakes. We should pay attention to the men and women who are motivated, supported and who demonstrate self-control. Let us believe in the individuals who CAN work, who CAN contribute, and who CAN make life better for some while keeping the rest of our world safe.
Please show your faith in people who can and want to contribute to our society in a positive way. Please co-sponsor and support H.R. 1475. Additionally, please consider becoming an advocate for the reinstatement of federal parole.
Thank you very much for your consideration of this highly important issue.
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