Urge Our Senators to Cosponsor the REDEEM Act to Remove Barriers to Successful Reentry from Incarceration

From the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (http://www.nrcat.org):

United States Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up in Washington, DC to sponsor new bi-partisan criminal justice reform legislation, the REDEEM Act (S. 2567). The bill was introduced this week and will remove barriers to successful re-entry following incarceration, while implementing strict limits on the placement of youth in solitary confinement.

Take action now by asking for our Senators to co-sponsor the REDEEM Act at http://org.salsalabs.com/o/2162/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16065.

The REDEEM Act (“Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment”) would clear the path to successful re-entry by:

  • Banning the placement of youth in solitary confinement, except as a temporary response to immediate risk of physical harm at any federal facility. Grant incentives are provided for states to do the same;
  • Enabling adults convicted of nonviolent crimes to petition to seal their criminal records, thus removing barriers to employment and successful re-entry;
  • Automatically sealing and, in some cases, expunging juvenile records;
  • Establishing incentives for states to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility to age 18;
  • Lifting the lifetime SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) bans for individuals convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

For far too long, returning home from prison has been described as the “second sentence.” Individuals face huge barriers to living wage employment, housing and education in the current system that permanently labels individuals as “felons.” Over a half million incarcerated people are released from U.S. prisons each year. Locked out of opportunity and reintegration into the life of the community, an estimated two-thirds are rearrested within three years.

Our faith traditions share in common a belief in second chances, restoration, redemption and the inherent human dignity and potential of each person. The REDEEM Act would advance our shared values and clear a pathway for greater access and possibility.

Take action now by urging our Senators to support to the REDEEM Act by using the model email NRCAT has prepared here.

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