Criminal Justice Reform

Most inmates in our prisons are there in part because of substance use problems. We support drug courts, sentencing that promotes treatment and reintegration, and the redemptive possibility of earning a clean criminal record.

Our nation has spent well over $1 trillion since President Nixon announced the so-called “War on Drugs” back in 1971, and yet our country leads the world in illegal drug use.  The U.S. also has the largest prison population in the world, with nearly 2.3 million people behind bars.  

One recent positive trend in federal spending is an increase in funds devoted to prevention, early intervention and treatment -- with a corresponding reduction in money devoted to interdiction and drug-related incarceration.  This is a development that should be continued in future years.

Along those same lines, we strongly support the expansion of Drug Courts and similar corrections alternatives that are more rehabilitative than punitive and that have proven to reduce crime, save money, ensure compliance and restore families.

We also believe legislative efforts like The Second Chance Act can help those who were convicted of drug offenses get back on their feet through treatment, re-entry programs and employment training.  We further support efforts to reform draconian mandatory sentencing laws.  

In addition, we also support efforts to restore the voting rights of recovering drug offenders and to provide them with more and better sober housing options.  We see high rates of recidivism in part because those with criminal records have a hard time rejoining society due to restrictions on housing, voting and employment.

We know, based on our work every day, that recovery is possible and powerful.  It’s time our laws and culture reflected the promise of redemption evident in the people whose renewed hope, healing and health illustrates the personal and societal value of recovery.