[#DIV28SUPER] Fwd: [DIVOFFICERS] Message from APA concerning federal criminal justice reform in Congress

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Below please find information to take action on a pending federal criminal justice issue. The U.S. House and Senate both are working on sentencing and corrections reform, and APA has asked its membership to contact House Judiciary Committee members in support of a provision related to mental and behavioral health. Please note, you will only be able to take action if you live in the district of a Judiciary Committee member, a list of whom is pasted below. You also can enter your contact information into the alert to find out if you live in one of these districts.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Micah Haskell-Hoehl in APA's Public Interest Government Relations Office at 202.336.5935 or mhaskell-hoeh@apa.org. I hope you will consider taking part in this action.








From: APA's Federal Action Network [mailto:mhaskell-hoehl@apa.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2015 11:52 AM
To: Haskell-Hoehl, Micah
Subject: You Live in a Key Congressional District; We Need Your Help!


Take Action: Please Contact Your House Member about Mandatory Minimums!

The U.S. House and Senate are working hard to reform federal corrections and sentencing—efforts APA strongly supports. Please urge the House Judiciary Committee to approve an important provision in the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act of 2015, H.R. 2944, on mandatory minimum sentences.

Currently, Congress is considering three different criminal justice reform bills. They all seek to make a number of important changes to existing law that will improve public safety, reduce the number of Americans serving prison time, and save tax dollars currently going toward incarceration. Each bill also includes provisions to broaden the existing safety valve. The safety valve gives discretion to a court to provide a sentence shorter than the mandatory minimum. However, it applies only under a narrow set of circumstances related to the offender and type of offense.

Unique to H.R. 2944 are provisions that would allow judges to use their discretion in deciding a sentence, after considering whether mental health needs, addiction, trauma, or victimization played a role in the offense. The other bills under consideration use only criminal history to include or exclude drug offenders from safety valve relief eligibility. H.R. 2944 provides an avenue for those individuals with the greatest level of mental and behavioral health need to receive sentences commensurate with the offense and treatment for the factors underlying their criminal behavior. This language would not allow offenders to escape accountability for their actions, but it would provide judges discretion to consider individual sentences in additional, specific cases. This represents not only a sensible criminal justice tool, but also another potential means for system efficiency and tax dollar savings.

Please contact your Representative! Take Action now!


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