Politic365

 
 


National

5:13pm May 28, 2014

Justice Reform? 22 Black Caucus Members Vote YES to 3 Mandatory Minimums

MM-CBC

Twenty-two Black Caucus members vote for the #1 driver in over incarceration. Last week, the House voted on the SAVE ACT. It passed 392-19. Incredibly, given the effect of over incarceration on the Black community over three decades — 22 members of the Black Caucus voted for the bill which included three mandatory minimum sentencing penalties. The bill seeks to punish anyone who benefits financially from sex trafficking.

Kemba Smith, Clarence Aron, Marissa Alexander… in an age when there are protests over mandatory minimum cases featuring long sentences for non-violent offenses, one would think the Black Caucus would have a set policy against mandatory minimums.

report1

From the new National Academy of Sciences study on over incarceration.

Only 13 Black Caucus members voted against the SAVE Act with its three new mandatory penalties including the Chair of the Black Caucus, Rep. Marcia Fudge. Fudge was joined in opposition by a freshman Republican member from Kentucky: Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) who is an example of the growing GOP opposition to mandatory sentences. While Massie, whose district is only 2.3% Black, voted against the bill because of the three mandatory minimums, 22 Black Caucus members vote in favor of a primary driver of over incarceration.

Rep. Massie has joined Rep. Bobby Scott in pushing the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. That bill would give federal judges the flexibility to issue sentences below the mandatory minimum penalty. Currently the Senate is working on a bill that would give judges more sentencing flexibility. Even Tea Party Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee support rolling back mandatory minimums.

mand-min

The three mandatory penalties in the SAVE Act.

Who in the Black Caucus voted for three mandatory minimums? Here’s a list: Reps. Joyce Beatty, Karen Bass, Sanford Bishop, G.K. Butterfield, Andre Carson, Lacy Clay, Emanuel Cleaver, Elijah Cummings, Chaka Fattah, Al Green, Alcee Hastings, Steve Horsford, Robin Kelly, Sheila Jackson Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Greg Meeks, Don Payne, Charlie Rangel, Cedric Richmond, Terri Sewell, Marc Veasey and Frederica Wilson [Hank Johnson, Bobby Rush and Bennie Thompson did not vote].

Did a bunch of Legislative Directors in Black Caucus offices fall asleep on May 20? At this point in the game after 30 years of evidence that mandatory sentences drive over incarceration isn’t it obvious that mandatory minimums are bad policy?

RELATED: Aug. 2013: Meet Five People Serving Draconian Drug Sentences Thanks To Mandatory Minimum Laws

The impact on Black and Hispanic communities has been undeniable. On May 24, the New York Times published a crushing editorial called End Mass Incarceration Now. Of course the editorial mentions mandatory minimums. It also mentions yet another study by the National Academy of Sciences that presents even more back breaking undeniable info on the consequences of over incarceration.

If you’re thinking, “hey, this is sex crime legislation so a mandatory sentence is OK,” think again. In the past mandatory minimums have had an uncanny way of causing unintended sentencing consequences.

“The legislation puts the Craigslist ad person on same level as the ringleader kidnapper who sets up a safe house and is the ringleader in the sex trafficking,” says Molly Gill, Government Affairs Counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM).

“Every crime is unique and every person who commits it is unique,” Gill added. She also made the point that when it comes to Congress voting on mandatory minimums, there is a crime du jour factor. “Whatever the big high profile crime is, Congress slaps a mandatory minimum on it, sex trafficking is the crime du jour of the day — it’s legislation without a lot of forethought — crime is more complicated than that,” Gill added.

 

 



About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. She is a former Senate and House staffer and has had a very diverse career in politics and media. Ms. Burke appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne and has been seen on MSNBC. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail anytime: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @Crewof42. Instagram: LVB325. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers. For additional information about Politic365, please visit http://politic365.com/about/.




 
 

 
g-k-butterfield

Butterfield: Politically Driven Open Internet Debate Should Not Slow Sound Broadband Policy

Hailing from Wilson, North Carolina, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Congressman G.K. Butterfield understands well the challenges facing many Americans today. Comprised of roughly three-quarters of a million people, 53% of ...
by Kristal High
1

 
 
aaron1

Kardashian Congressman Aaron Schock is GOP’s Welfare Queen

Could Anyone Be This Stupid? The Answer is YES.  American taxpayers funded $79,000 in furniture and $29,000 on a photographer over four months for soon-to-be-funded Rep. Aaron Schock (D-IL).  This is the same Rep. Schock who ...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
1

 
 
6236984564_639ea5c68a_b

Canadian born Ted Cruz to enter GOP race for president, let the birther stories begin

On Sunday, it was announced that Texas Senator Ted Cruz will launch his presidential campaign on Monday at Liberty University in Virginia. While Jeb Bush is “exploring” a run for president, Ted Cruz would be the fir...
by Adriana Maestas
5

 

Advertisement
 
206911985_c0f565df12_o

#RaceTogether: conversations about race deserve more time than it takes to make your latte

On Tuesday, Twitter was abuzz with the news that Starbucks was encouraging its baristas to have conversations with customers about race in America in its “Race Together” campaign. What may have started out as a well...
by Adriana Maestas
2

 
 
unnamed

Lorretta Johnson: Breaking Barriers and Uniting Educators

For the last 50 years, Lorretta Johnson has advocated for educators across the country. Her journey has taken her to the poorest neighborhoods in the United States, to the Rose Garden of the White House, and all around the worl...
by Sam P.K. Collins
2

 




One Comment


  1. […] Justice Reform? 22 Black Caucus Members Vote YES to 3 Mandatory Minimums Twenty-two Black Caucus members vote for the #1 driver in over incarceration. Last week, the House voted on the SAVE ACT. It passed 392-19. Incredibly, given the effect of over incarceration on the Black community over three decades — 22 members of … Read more on Politic365 […]



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>