DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network


Oppose Crime Bill -- Support Safety Valve

A bizarre alliance of conservative gun control opponents and liberal and black Democrats joined last week to deal the President a stunning setback: on Thursday, August 11, the House of Representatives voted 225-210 to not bring the Crime Bill to the House floor for a vote. Republicans and conservative Democrats were largely opposed to the Crime Bill's Assault Weapons Ban, while liberal and black Democrats were angered by extensions of the death penalty and the conference committee's rejection of the Racial Justice Act, which would allow defendants to appeal death penalties on the basis of racially discriminatory sentencing.

DRCNet opposes the Crime Bill and the prison building frenzy it represents. We do support certain positive elements within the Crime Bill, particularly the retroactive "safety-valve" clause which would exempt certain first-time, non-violent drug offenders from 5 and 10 year mandatory minimum sentences, allowing them to be resentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines. About 1,600 current federal inmates would receive reduced sentences.

DRCNet recommends that you contact your Representative and your two Senators and ask them to:

1) Make sure a fully retroactive safety valve is included in any version of the Crime Bill that might be presented; and

2) Oppose the Crime Bill as a whole.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM - (202) 457-5790) suggests that you also contact the following members of Congress in support of the retroactive safety valve:

Sen. Joe Biden         (202) 224-5225 (phone)         224-0139 or 224-9516 (fax)

Rep. Jack Brooks       (202) 225-6565 (phone)         225-1584 (fax)

Rep. Tom Foley         (202) 225-2006 (phone)

Addresses for any member of Congress:

        The Honorable {your Representative}     The Honorable {your Senator} 

        House of Representatives                U.S. Senate 

        Washington, D.C. 20515                  Washington, D.C. 20510

If you don't know who your Representative or Senators are, you can find out by calling the Congressional Switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

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