by Peggy Hinds

Yesterday I sent an Action Alert about Senate Bill 2123, The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. I mentioned that two of our board members are in Washington advocating for the bill. Well, I was wrong. There are three KCC board members in Washington meeting with officials. Below is a message from The Reverend Anthony Everett and The Reverend Kenneth Golphin.

"Reverend Kenneth Golphin (Kentucky Council of Churches Treasurer), Mr. William Saunders (Lexington NAACP President), and I have scheduled meetings for the Sentencing Reform Lobby Day on Capitol Hill with staff persons for both US Senators (KY) Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul in attempts to move US S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, to the senate floor for a vote.  The lobby day is sponsored by the ACLU, The Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition. A third meeting has been scheduled for us by Mr. Saunders with US Representative (KY) Andy Barr to discuss our support of a similar house bill, US H. R. 3713, the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015.

As an at-large Human Rights Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and an United Methodist clergy concerned with restorative justice, I believe this legislation, if passed, will be a crucial first step to reducing some mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and curbing recidivism, especially amongst ethnic and poor people throughout the entire state.  This 'smart on crime' bipartisan bill is a necessary step toward allowing for punishments to fit the crime and a new prioritization regarding drug enforcement resources.  Other states have revamped their sentencing policies, reduced their prison populations, and seen their crime rates continue to drop, all the while saving billions of dollars.  This will be good for Kentucky and I am glad that Senator Rand Paul is a cosponsor.  We can all support this effort by calling the US Senate at 1 (866) 338-5720 to register our views with both senators."                           -- The Reverend Anthony Everett

“In addition to love and forgiveness the church ought to be about fairness, and about encouraging political leadership to be about the same. To quote the talking points we'll be using ‘Punishments should fit the crime. For far too long, federal sentencing laws have taken a blunt approach to crime that has served neither public safety nor justice. This approach has ruined families and exploded the prison population. This bill takes a good first step toward a more reasonable, rational approach to public safety and sentencing that will reduce mass incarceration in the United States.’ "                                              – The Reverend Kenneth Golphin

Although these two gentlemen and The Reverend Amariah McIntosh are in Washington on behalf other organizations, they also represent KCC. I am grateful for their leadership in this effort. Again, I encourage each of our members and friends to contact Senators and Representatives to thank them for this bipartisan effort and encourage their support.