1. Update
  2. Criminal Justice

A Vote for Sentencing Reform

By Amelia Kegan, April 28, 2016

Sometimes, it feels as though partisan gridlock has taken over in Washington. That there’s no hope of any positive legislation passing Congress. Especially now. Especially in an election year. Yet over the past weeks and months, below the surface, sentencing reform is making progress.

Earlier today, Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) and senators on both sides of the aisle announced major steps forward for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act -- eight new cosponsors, and new compromises to ensure broad bipartisan support.

Act now: Tell your senators to bring sentencing reform to a vote.

Through persistent advocacy—letters, emails, in-district meetings, op-eds and letters to the editor—especially from people of faith, we’ve seen more members of Congress coming out in support of sentencing reform, specifically the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, S. 2123. Through the winter and early spring, voices like yours have been the tree roots of legislative progress, searching for and steadily growing congressional support.

Today, the lead sponsors of that bill introduced some changes they’ve been working on for months in an effort to convince more senators to co-sponsor the bill. Those negotiations in combination with pressure from local constituents led to additional co-sponsors.

With over a third of the Senate officially co-sponsoring this bill and even more willing to vote for it, it’s time for Leader McConnell to bring the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act before the full Senate for a vote.

We can't slow down now. It might be hard to see, but the momentum for bipartisan criminal justice reform is growing. Gradually, the number of bill co-sponsors has been increasing. Speaker Ryan has repeatedly said that he wants to see sentencing reform pass this year.

Now it’s our job to push that momentum through. As we get closer to Election Day, members of Congress get increasingly nervous about voting for, doing, or saying anything that might invite some pushback. The season for legislative victory is short, but the opportunity is very real and very present. I hope you'll send a message today.

Amelia Kegan

  • Legislative Director, Domestic Policy

Amelia Kegan leads the domestic policy team's work in analyzing legislation, advocating on Capitol Hill, and developing legislative strategy. Prior to coming to FCNL, Amelia worked at a variety of other national non-profits in D.C. and Chicago, focusing on federal budget, tax, and low-income policy.