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I support focusing on rehabilitation, rather than overly punitive measures that are ineffective.  We need to reform our criminal justice system by strengthening community based intervention programs to reduce recidivism and support collaboration between mental health and substance abuse services.  I am also supportive of working to stop the overcriminalization of those who suffer from mental illnesses.  An estimated 2 million people who suffer from illnesses are admitted to jails every year.  They are much more likely to end up in jail on minor offenses and typically stay longer, never getting the treatment they need.  Our efforts in the house are focused on fairness and compassion, ensuring that federal criminal laws and regulations apply the appropriate punishments and are fiscally responsible.  I have cosponsored five criminal justice reform bills, three of which have been approved by the Judiciary Committee.

H.R. 3406 -
Second Chance Reauthorization Act

  • This bill would reauthorize several programs dedicated to mentoring of substance abuse and family-based programs
  •  It would expand current correctional education and employment initiatives by increasing grants to state and local governments
  •  The Second Chance Act would be extended, allowing the federal government to continue providing resources to state and local governments and community groups to improve success rates for people released from jail

H.R. 920
Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015

  • Increase individualized review for certain drug sentences (lowering certain non-violent drug mandatory sentences, allowing judges to determine, based on individual circumstances, when the harshest penalties should apply, while not repealing any mandatory minimum sentences or lowering the maximum sentences for these offenses)
  •  Modestly expand the existing federal “safety valve” which has been effective in allowing federal judges to appropriately sentence certain non-violent drug offenders below existing mandatory minimums


H.R. 2944 - Sensenbrenner-Scott Over-Criminalization Task Force Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective Justice Reinvestment Act of 2015

  • H.R. 2944 will work to address how to fix overcrowding in our federal prisons by examining successful measures states like California, Washington, Georgia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Louisiana, and others have taken to reduce the amount of people incarcerated in their state
  •  One of its main goals is to encourage judicial districts to open drug, veteran, mental health, and other problem solving courts, giving those who have served their sentence rehabilitative options to help them lead lives free from crime

H.R. 1854
Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act

  • Continues support for mental health courts and crisis intervention teams and creates new grant accountability measures and emphasizes the use of evidence-based practices
  •  Authorizes investments in veterans treatment courts, which serve arrested veterans who suffer from PTSD, substance addiction, and other mental health conditions
  •  Increases focus on corrections-based programs, like transitional services that reduce recidivism rates and screening practices that identify inmates with mental health conditions
H.R. 3713Sentencing Reform Act

  •  Makes the criminal justice system more fair by reducing certain mandatory minimums
  • Gives judges greater discretion to determine appropriate sentences for non-violent drug offenders
  • Gives federal prosecutors the ability to seek enhanced sentences for violent felons and Fentanyl traffickers as a tool to combat the heroin epidemic

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