We Need Your Help!
As you know, HRFK has been leading advocacy efforts in Congress to change the way children are treated in the federal criminal justice system. Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) has introduced 3 important child sentencing reform bills:
H.R. 1949 addresses the use of mandatory minimum sentences on all children in the federal criminal justice system. Under this measure, judges will consider how children are different from adult offenders prior to sentencing and will be allowed to depart up to 35 percent away from the otherwise applicable mandatory minimum sentence.
H.R. 1950 – also known as Sara’s Law – will allow judges to depart from any mandatory minimum sentence or suspend any portion of a sentence when a child has committed a crime against someone who has previously sex trafficked or sexually abused them.
And H.R. 1951 will allow children sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for crimes committed before their 18th birthday to petition the original sentencing court for review of their sentence after they have served 20 years.
HRFK, along with our partner organizations the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth and the Campaign for Youth Justice, released a coalition letter urging members of Congress to support and co-sponsor all 3 of Congressman Westerman’s bills which you can read and share HERE.
We need your help to spread the word and to show Congressional leadership that Child Sentencing Reform has broad bi-partisan support and needs to be a priority this Congress.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please contact your member of Congress and ask them to sign-on as a co-sponsor to HR 1949, 1950, and 1951. If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can easily look them up on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website – HERE.
When you contact your member of Congress’ Office, you can use the script below:
“My name is __________. I am a constituent of Congressman/Congresswoman __________ and I am calling to let [him or her] know how important HR 1949, HR 1950, and HR 1951 by Congressman Bruce Westerman are to protecting the human rights of children in the criminal justice system. Children are different from adults and should not be subject to harsh mandatory minimum sentences or sentenced to die in prison. And children who commit acts of violence against those who have previously abused or exploited them deserve our love and compassion, not to be locked away in cages. I hope that Congressman/Congresswoman _________ agrees. I am urging [him or her] to sign on as a co-sponsor to these important bills and to make sure that the second step of criminal justice reform focuses on the treatment of children in the justice system. Thank you.”
It is as easy that! Be sure to extend your impact by having your family and friends contact their Members of Congress as well! You can also share our coalition letter on your social media accounts and sign our Change.org Petition!
We are at a critical time in our work in Congress. Now, more than ever, we must demonstrate our resolve and send an unmistakable message to Congress that children in the justice system deserve better. They deserve hope and love, and it is time that we treat kids like kids. HR 1949, 1950, and 1951 are a good first step towards accomplishing that. Thank you for your help!
With hope and love,
Founder & CEO