Help Reduce Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Please Sign the Petition to Congress Urging Reduction of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

day-in-courtIn a recent article on this blog, my oldest son (Thomas) and I wrote about a bill presently being considered in committees of both houses of Congress, the Justice Safety Valve Act. It is designed “to prevent unjust and irrational criminal punishments.” If enacted, it would allow judges more discretion in sentencing below the mandatory minimum for many federal crimes if they are convinced that doing so would not endanger public safety. Not only would passage of the Justice Safety Valve Act prevent lives and money from being wasted, it would also demonstrate to politicians and average citizens in this time of ideological rigidity that Congress still can, at least occasionally, come together to work for the common good.

We also noted that despite considerable bipartisan support (e.g., Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are co-sponsors of the Senate bill), GovTrack.us gives the bill less than a 1 in 5 chance of being passed by either Congressional house. But members of Congress do pay some attention to their constituents, though perhaps not as much as to powerful lobbyists. If ever there was a time for us to contact our Congressional representatives, this is the time.

walter mossPerhaps all the pain caused by the recent governmental shutdown has sobered some of our representatives, and they might be more willing than before to display bipartisanship. You can help by clicking the link here and then signing the petition. Let’s not just complain about our dysfunctional Congress. Let’s demonstrate that ordinary citizens still have a voice that matters in our democracy.

Walter G. Moss

Published by the LA Progressive on October 19, 2013
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About Walter G. Moss

Walter G. Moss is a professor emeritus of history at Eastern Michigan University. His most recent book is An Age of Progress?: Clashing Twentieth-Century Global Forces (2008). For a list of all his recent books and online publications, including many on Russian history and culture, go here: http://people.emich.edu/wmoss/pub.htm

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