Monday, December 17 - Pass Criminal Justice Reform / Investigate Border Patrol / Indivisible Chicago Podcast

Actions You Can Take Today

 

Action 1: Tell Senators to Pass Criminal Justice Reform

Our criminal justice system is broken. Now you have a chance to help fix it. This week, the U.S. Senate will vote on The First Step Act. This bill will reduce sentences for certain drug offenses and have a real impact on thousands of people serving time under our disastrous drug laws.

The First Step Act is critical criminal justice reform legislation with broad bipartisan support. But to become law this year, it must move through Congress quickly and onto the desk of President Trump, who has said he will sign it into law.

The bill will reform the prison system, allowing people to get home sooner by reducing sentences for certain drug offenses, including:

  • Retroactivity for the Fair Sentencing Act (the 2010 law that reduced the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity), allowing the potential release of around 2,600 people.

  • Expansion of the “safety valve” allowing judges more discretion to sentence beneath mandatory minimum sentences.

  • Reform of the “three strikes” law, reducing the “second strike” mandatory minimum of 20 years to 15 years, and reducing the “third strike” mandatory minimum of life-in-prison to 25 years.

While this bill doesn’t come close to fixing all the problems with federal drug sentencing, and it has been a painful compromise, it’s a positive step forward in the context of an administration that has sought to escalate the war on drugs. Tell Senators to vote yes!

Senator Duckworth | DC: 202-224-2854 | Chicago 312-886-3506
Senator Durbin | DC: 202-224-2152 | Chicago 312-353-4952

Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [zip code] and a member of Indivisible. I’m calling to ask [Senator] to vote in favor of The First Step Act (S. 3649), critical criminal justice reform legislation with broad bipartisan support. The First Step Act will be life-changing for the thousands of people who are able to come home. I urge you to do the right thing to reform our broken criminal justice system by voting in favor of The First Step Act.

Action via Drug Policy Alliance

Action 2: Call on House to Investigate Migrant Child’s Death

On December 6, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal died after 8 hours in Border Patrol custody. According to the Washington Post, “the child began having seizures … Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees.” The remote New Mexico facility where Jakelin was held has a history of contaminated water, according to a 2016 inspector general’s report.

This is unconscionable. The death of this child--along with the continued mistreatment of migrants in US custody--must not be allowed to stand.

With Democrats poised to take over the House, they now have the power to launch investigations into atrocities such as this. Call on your House rep to demand an investigation today!

Find your rep’s contact info

Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [zip code] and a member of Indivisible. I’m calling to ask [REP] to demand an investigation into the death of a 7-year-old migrant girl in the custody of Border Patrol. It is unconscionable that a child suffered this inhumane fate. I demand a full investigation into this to inform swift changes in how the US treats migrants. Thank you.

 

Action 3: Listen to the Indivisible Chicago Podcast with Barbara Flynn Currie

Every Sunday, Indivisible Chicago members Tom Moss releases a new episode of the Indivisible Chicago Podcast (ICP). It’s a great way to keep up with the latest news about the Indivisible movement on a local level and to stay plugged in to upcoming efforts around the city.

Opening: Despite an attempted coup by 16 congresspeople, including Bill Foster who represents parts of the Western Suburbs, Nancy Pelosi will almost certainly be Speaker of the House in January. Watching how she baited and schooled the president last week, that seems like a very good thing. An excellent profile of her can be found in the NY Times Magazine.

Interview: The Illinois State Legislature gains a Democratic super-majority in January, but loses a member who has been a fixture for many years. Retiring Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, majority leader of the State House of Representatives, joins the podcast for a wide-ranging conversation about her years in Springfield.

Daily Actions Editor