WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s commutation of sentences for 214 individuals, many of whom were convicted under overly punitive, discriminatory, and outdated sentencing laws that would be made more fair if Congress finally passed the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act:
“We applaud the President’s leadership in commuting the overly harsh and outdated sentences of these individuals. Today’s action sends an unmistakable message to the nation that we desperately need reforms to our inhumane, discriminatory, and costly criminal justice system.
Across the country, Republicans and Democrats have come together to call for smart, moral, and cost-effective sentencing reforms, but the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act has been waiting for Senate action since it was voted out of committee 10 months ago. The House version of that bill, the Sentencing Reform Act, has been languishing without floor action for almost as long. Both houses need to get their acts together and take votes on these bills without delay.
During a divisive political season, Congress should be able to come together around our shared national values to do something that shows how Washington can help improve our country. That something can be real criminal justice reform that saves money, saves communities, and saves lives.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.