Brennan Center Responds to Senator; Urges Congress Not to Abandon Criminal Justice Reform

August 22, 2018

Reaction to Cornyn’s Comments in Politico

New York, N.Y. –  In an interview with Politico, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said that a new package of prison and sentencing reform would not come to a vote before the midterm elections, citing opposition from a vocal minority within his party. The package has the support of the White House as well as wide bipartisan backing in Congress.
“Our legislators have a responsibility to face this country’s criminal justice crisis and to continue to work on solutions. That obligation doesn’t change because an election is coming,” said Ames Grawert, Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, and the John L. Neu Justice Counsel. “The FIRST STEP Act — combined with robust sentencing reform — must remain on Congress’s to-do list this fall. Hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by mass incarceration, including prisoners and their families, and they deserve Congress’s attention. There’s no excuse for failing to take action, particularly when strong consensus for reform exists on both sides of the aisle and in the White House.

“Rather than shirking their obligation to repair one of this nation’s most urgent problems, our senators must continue to strengthen the FIRST STEP Act with significant, common-sense sentencing reforms and move forward.”

The Brennan Center continues to support efforts to pass comprehensive sentencing reform — or merge major sentencing provisions with the FIRST STEP Act. Read our most recent letter to Congress here.