According to a report published in The Boston Pilot, the Archbishop of Miami (Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) and Father Snyder (President of Catholic Charities USA) said in a March 27, 2014 letter to senators that tough minimum sentences “are costly, ineffective and can be detrimental to the good of persons, families and communities.” They called the bill a “modest first step in reforming our nation’s broken sentencing policies.”
The Smarter Sentencing Act would reform rigid sentencing policies for some nonviolent drug offenders. The Act would, among other things, cut minimum sentences and allow judges to use discretion when sentencing lower-level offenders. Despite supporting the act, Archbishop Wenski and Father Snyder are concerned about three new categories of minimum sentences that were added to the original bill, which include sexual assault, domestic violence, and arms trading. They noted that it is time for the government to support programs aimed at crime prevention, rehabilitation, education and substance abuse treatment, in addition to probation, parole and reintegration into society. “Our Catholic tradition supports the community’s right to establish and enforce laws that protect people and advance the common good. But our faith teaches us that both victims and offenders have a God-given dignity that calls for justice and restoration, not vengeance,” the letter said. The full letter is available here.
If you have been charged with a crime, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer. Criminal convictions, in addition to prison time, can affect employment applications and require substance abuse treatment. Call the Law Office of Ben Crittenden for a free case evaluation. You can also visit our criminal law page for more information.