The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population and almost 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Even the terminally ill are kept in cages in the land of the free.
But a bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation that would make it easier for the terminally ill to request a reduced sentence.
The bill is called the “Granting Release And Compassion Effectively Act of 2018” or the “GRACE Act.”
Click here to ask your Senators to support it now.
“It makes sense to release prisoners who present very little danger to society. It’s the humane thing to do, and it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do,” said Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
Congress created compassionate release programs in the 1980s. But they are under-used. According to new federal data analyzed by The Marshall Project and The New York Times, the Bureau of Prisons approved only 6 percent of the 5,400 applications received requesting compassionate release between 2013 and 2017. Of those who have applied for non-medical reasons, only 2 percent have been approved since 2013. Two hundred sixty-six prisoners died in custody during their waiting period.
“Year after year, the Bureau of Prisons has denied the compassionate release requests of hundreds of sick, elderly, and dying prisoners, and devastated the families who want to care for them in their final days and months,” said Families Against Mandatory Minimums vice president of policy Molly Gill.
Tell your Senators to sponsor the GRACE Act now.
If passed, the GRACE Act would create greater accountability and transparency in the use of compassionate release. Among other things, the bill would:
- Require annual data collection and reporting on the use of compassionate release;
- Require the Bureau of Prisons to provide prisoners and prison staff with more visible and regular notice of the availability of compassionate release;
- Permit prison staff and the prisoner’s family members or attorney to assist a prisoner in filing a compassionate release request;
- Create an expedited process for reviewing compassionate release requests from terminally ill prisoners;
- Require the Bureau of Prisons to give families the opportunity to visit an incarcerated loved one within seven days of the prisoner’s receipt of a diagnosis of a terminal illness;
- Permit federal prisoners to appeal the denial of a compassionate release request to a district court.
Help advance this agenda by clicking here.
After taking action, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.
-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
>> S. 2471 -- GRACE Act
>> The Marshall Project: "Old, Sick and Dying in Shackles"
>> Defenders Services Office: Legislative History of Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1983