Updated Friday May 12 2000
Actions for Change
Today, federal and state prisons are filled with nonviolent, low-level drug offenders who are not threats to society. It is time to reform mandatory sentencing laws so the punishment fits the crime.
Contact your congressional representative to not only support but to co-sponsor Rep. Maxine Waters bill H.R 1631 "Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act". This bill is intended to curb prosecutions for low-level drug offenders in federal court and to eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences for drug law violations.
Although the U.S. has only 5% of the worid's population, it has 25% of its prisoners. (November Coalition) With 2 million people in prison (500,000 drug offenders), we have a higher proportion of our citizens in prison than any other country in history.
Contact your congressperson to co-sponsor and support Rep.Ted Strickland's bill H.R. 979 Public Safety Act. This bill is to prohibit privately run federal prisons and limit their growth at the state level.
At the present time, laws governing whether or not a person can have the right to vote after being incarcerated are unequal in different states. It is estimated that one in 50 adults cannot vote as the result of a felony conviction.
Rep. John Conyers has introduced H.R. 906 "The Civil Participation and Rehabilation Act of 1999" which ensures the right to vote to citizens who have paid their debt to society and need to begin their life anew. Contact your congressperson to co-sponsor and support this legislation.
Contact your Minnesota state senator and representative to ask them to stop investing Minnesota tax dollars in building more prisons; rather, ask them to explore alternative methods to incarceration; i.e. community service, restitution, employee assistance job development, alcohol and drug treatment, mental and other health services.