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Record #: R2015-856   
Type: Resolution Status: Failed to Pass
Intro date: 10/28/2015 Current Controlling Legislative Body: Joint Committee: Finance; Public Safety
Final action:
Title: Call for U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk to facilitate passage of criminal justice reform legislation
Sponsors: Burke, Edward M., Austin, Carrie M., Reboyras, Ariel
Attachments: 1. R2015-856.pdf
Related files: R2019-362

WHEREAS, The United States incarcerates 25% or the world's prisoners, with an incarceration rate four times higher than China, and greater than the top 35 European countries combined; and
WHEREAS, To address rising crime rates in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Congress and state legislatures began approving harsher criminal penalties and sentencing guidelines; and
WHEREAS, As a result, the United States prison population has quadrupled since 1980 though there has not been a corresponding drop in crime rates; and
WHEREAS, Prolonged incarceration of nonviolent offenders, who make up roughly half of all inmates, frequently contributes to the disintegration of families, increases dependency on state aid, and reduces the economic viability of individuals, families and communities; and
WHEREAS, Reducing incarceration will also improve public safety because people who need treatment for drug, alcohol, and mental health issues will be more likely to improve and reintegrate into society if they receive consistent care, something relatively few jails or prisons offer; and
WHEREAS, Many people serving disproportionately long sentences for nonviolent offenses are routinely housed with hardened offenders; and
WHEREAS, In July, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, later outlining the moral and economic case for shrinking the prison population, rehabilitating inmates instead of merely locking them up, and the impact of policing and criminal prosecution on poor communities; and
WHEREAS, 130 of our Nation's most highly regarded police chiefs, prosecutors, and sheriffs have formed a group to address the topic of reducing our nation's incarceration rate for nonviolent criminals; and
WHEREAS, The Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration is working with courts, Congress, and state legislatures to roll back tough laws and rigid judicial practices that have a built a criminal justice system with one of the highe...

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