Can You Think of a Better Way to Spend $7.2 Billion Than Unnecessarily Locking Up Nonviolent Offenders and Undocumented Immigrants?

The Department of Justice spends $7.2 billion a year to incarcerate over 209,000 people in the federal Bureau of Prisons at a cost of over $30,000 per year per person.

This is unsustainable, both morally and economically.

The majority of these individuals are African-American and Latino. The criminal justice system in this country disproportionately impacts communities of color, perpetuating a harmful legacy of racism that stretches back to our nation's founding.

But there is good news: We know how to reduce the federal prison population and make the system fairer, less costly, and safer. The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, created by Congress to address challenges facing the Federal Bureau of Prisons, met to discuss these goals. We presented some of our key recommendations.

First, the Department of Justice must continue to pursue the Smart on Crime Initiative launched by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder to reduce unnecessary incarceration of people with low level non-violent drug convictions. " In addition, DOJ should deal with a major and unaddressed category of federal prosecutions – those relating to immigration. Illegal entry and re-entry are now the most prosecuted federal crimes in the United States. Immigration enforcement should be returned to civil authorities.

Second, Congress must support smarter sentencing reforms, such as repealing or reducing all mandatory minimums, reducing sentences for individuals with two prior felony drug convictions from life without parole, and eliminating disparities in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine offenses. These reforms should also include making sentencing reductions retroactive for the current prison population. Almost half of the federal prison population is composed of people convicted of drug offenses.  Mandatory sentencing results in excessive prison terms for far too many people, while providing little public safety benefit, at a great expense to tax payers.

Third, the BOP should formally prohibit the use of solitary confinement for juveniles held under federal jurisdiction and implement recommendations from the 2014 BOP audit to reduce the use of solitary for adults. Solitary confinement is widely recognized as a psychologically and physically harmful practice that is often unnecessary to maintain safety inside a facility.

Fourth, Congress should expand BOP's compassionate release program and time credits for good behavior. Reducing inmates' actual time in institutional custody can help reduce the number of people in the federal prison system and, at the same time, incentivize good behavior and educational and rehabilitative efforts for the inmates themselves.

Finally Congress must eliminate legal barriers to reentry for individuals released from prison, and it must adequately fund reentry programming in order to reduce recidivism and ensure that returning citizens have meaningful opportunities to rebuild their lives.

The Colson Task Force faces a formidable challenge – but the time for change is now. We believe that our recommendations, if implemented, would go a long way to address the mass incarceration epidemic at the federal level.

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Anonymous

Please if you ever get a chance investigate the standpoint Idaho court system. The judges here hold biaus opinion and hardly play fair. Acts by police here a manipulative, getting caught drugs on locals and getting it swept under the carpet. The judges have stocks in countless privately run recovery programs and get a big cut when someone is sent, and has successfully completed the program. There's been known to be drug involvement in are judicial system. People are afraid to stand up here and speak because the harassment will continue until people here just want nothing to do with them. They play fair if their certain people of observing they will do anything to look up to par but it's a hoax. This a troubled town. Funds go more to police then for schools.

Anonymous

I won't help those nasty brothers do a damn thing. Anything they're connected to you can forget it.
They've never paid federal taxes in their life, which means they have NO right to ask for ANY federal programs to be cut. If they paid federal taxes they might have the right but they never have so they've never had the right to ask for it to be slashed.
People who pay no federal taxes and then demand that programs funded by federal tax money be cut make me sick.

My sister has traumatic brain injury bc she lost oxygen to a part of her brain so she can't work at all. How's she supposed to eat on $35 a month?
They want people dead and ask for programs to be cut that they've never paid a damn cent to fund.
That's one of the definitions of a jackass. Demand that a program you never paid for be slashed and watch people die from it.

Curtis

All law enforcement should be required to wear body cameras in California and the entire nation due to the fact that Peace Officer's, Marshall's, Deputy Sheriff's,Jailer's, Correction Officer's, California Highway Patrol Officer's, Jail Medical Staff,Jail Mental Health Staff are able to violate your civil & human rights without punishment unless there is video evidence the crime goes unpunished.. Let's make life a fair playground for all. We must not forget our people locked up unfairly and unjust...!!! Injustice must be exposed...!!!!

Anonymous

My husband was sentenced to 75 years plus 9 for 1.4 oz of dope and some broken glassware under California 3 strikes law. If it were not for the gang enhancement that was based on a single officer/experts broad generalizations of a gang member he would have gotten 9 years. How do lawmakers and those opposed to abolishing the three stoke laws justify giving someone who has taken anothers life less time than someone who has not. Regardless of what anybody has done in the past NO CRIME SHOULD EVER RECEIVE A LONGER SENTENCE THAN THAT A PERSON WHO HAS TAKEN A LIFE OR TAKEN A CHILDS INNOCENCE IS SENTENCED TO IT LESSENS THE VALUE ON HUMAN LIFE AND OUR CHILDRENS INNOCENCE WHEN WE ALLOW SUCH PUNISHMENTS TO BE GIVEN. REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY TIMES A PERSON HAS GOTTEN IN TROUBLE TAKING A LIFE SHOULD HAVE THE SEVEREST PENALTY PERIOD.If people are given 75 years for making dope than a murderer should face a minimum of 76 years then. My hudband deserved the 9 years doubled or even tripled with a chance to one day be released but 75 +9 is a problem that we as a society are going to pay for in the future when we put non killers in prison longer than we do killers. But naturally nobody is willing to take a stand and say this is unacceptable because lawmakers cant and wont look beyond the money it generates from the department of corrections that they wont do shit to make this right. Instead of attacking federal sentencing try addressing state sentencing first especially California's cuz this I where most of the problems are.

Anonymous

Non violent offenders released from prison need a way of life to go back to which will give them a sense of worth and loyalty to a country which has given them a second chance. I am sure I am not the first with the following idea, right or wrong: develop a militia, voluntary, used to fight against ISIS. Or another related ...idea...related to securing our border?.. Just thoughts....

Anonymous

I agree. When I was a teenager, when someone got into trouble with the law, that was minor, the judge would give them the option of joining the military or going to jail, and many became heroes.

Anonymous

I feel the prosecutors begin thinking every defendant is a guilty party just like everyone else they try to give max sentence for. If years on the prosecution side begins to look at all defendant's as guilty then maybe they should have to change sides after ten years or so. That way if they are forced to defend a defendant then maybe all cases will be viewed as unique and the prosecutors would have more of an understanding regarding human behaviors and mitigating circumstances.

Anonymous

They say there is a war on drugs, However, now they are giving old people 100 downers to kill themselves, in order to save money? They cut back needed pain meds for many older adults, causing them more suffering, then choose the "Right to die" What kind of Monsters are running this Country? I was reading the new California right to die law, and am shocked. If we do not fight this, we are responsible for the deaths. A lady who recently did this had less symptoms than I am going through. They gave her 100 downers in order to die with dignity? This is crazy, and should be the war we should be fighting.

Anonymous

Did you know that in the downtown area of Los Angeles, it was illegals brought in to take jobs from young black males in hotels etc. which lead to them being unemployed and leading to creation of gangs? They brought in illegals who would work for less, and then the seiu was created. The young black males, and females did not stand a chance, so the Truth needs to be recognized.

Anonymous

California Highway Patrol Officer's, Jail Medical Staff,Jail Mental Health Staff are able to violate your civil & human rights without punishment unless there is video evidence the crime goes unpunished.. Let's make life a fair playground for all. We must not forget our people locked up unfairly and unjust...!!! Injustice must be exposed...!!!! July 2017 Printable Calendar pdf

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