National Weekly Call: August 20, 2-2:30pm EST

Center for Prison Reform National Call Agenda

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 – 2 – 2:30 PM EST

Call-In Number:  (605) 562-3140

Participant code: 408388#

(Note: The call-in number will be the same every week, at the same time)

NOTE: There will be no call next week (Wed, Aug 27). We’ll see everyone again on Wed, Sep 3!

Next call: Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 2-2:30PM EST

 Executive Summary

We will have a call every Wednesday at 2 PM EST regarding the Center for Prison Reform (CPR).  CPR is a non-profit coalition organized to promote rehabilitation for those that are incarcerated.  We are particularly focused on legislation that is in the Senate and sponsored by Senators Cornyn, Portman and Whitehouse. It has passed the Judiciary Committee. We have much work to do in the House of Representatives and also the US Senate in order to ensure this legislation reaches the President’s desk by the end of this calendar year.

Coalition Building

Please list us as a resource on your website (

If your organization or your allies want to join our coalition, please do so at

We need to quickly secure as many members as possible for this reform coalition. We should focus on faith-based groups, minority groups, rehabilitation service providers and professionals, family advocacy groups, suicide prevention groups, and so on.

Coalition Members

o   Ann Lambert –

o   Jesselyn McCurdy –

  • Aleph Institute

o   Rabbi Aaron Lipskar –


o   Trevor Summerfield –


  • Bella and Stella Foundation

o   Lloyd Rubin –


  • Human Rights Defense Center

o   Paul Wright –


o   Gabrielle de la Gueronniere –


o   Marc Levin –


o   Christine Leonard –


  • Williams and Jensen

o   Matthew B Hoekstra –

o   Eric Stewart –


Potential Coalition Members


  • Brennan Center for Justice ( – contacted









  • JustFaith Ministries ( – contacted





  • NAACP ( – email sent to Hilary Shelton, Senior VP for Advocacy 8/4/14


  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers ( – contacted


  • National Council of La Raza ( – email sent to Eric Rodriguez & Clarissa Martinez de Castro, VP & Deputy VP Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation 8/4/14






  • State Prison Bureaus


 Website (website launched on Wednesday, July 16, 2014)


We will be available to take coalition members and allies from the website. There will be a section for newsletter and national update call subscribers. Please check the website for latest information regarding the Cornyn-Portman-Whitehouse legislation and its progress.


We will be adding email addresses, a dedicated phone number, and a PayPal donate button that will go to a merchant banking account in case there are any interested donors. We are a non-profit but donations will not be tax-deductible as a charity donation, as we are mainly focused on lobbying.  We can also recruit Fellows — like Adrian Raines who have done MRI research on the brains of violent criminal, etc.


The Center for Prison Reform’s Newsletter is available at

Donate to Center for Prison Reform via PayPal



Social Media


We will secure sites and post to the following media: Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter.

Facebook: (

Twitter: (



Further Resources


We have developed a one page document for Republicans (Why Prison Reform?).

Please find attached a Letter of Endorsement for your group or organization to approve.


In the Senate


There are now 32 US Senators co-sponsoring the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014 (S. 1410), sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin [IL], which focuses on removing the statutory minimum sentence for a number of non-violent crimes. There are also 50 members of the US House co-sponsoring the House version of the bill (H.R. 3382)

It will also require the Attorney General to report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee on how the money saved from this Act will in turn be used to mitigate the present problems of overcrowding in federal prisons.




Cornyn-Portman-Whitehouse Legislation


The Cornyn-Portman-Whitehouse legislation combines elements of S. 1783, the Federal Prison Reform Act, introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), along with Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).  It would address this growing problem by building on reforms that have proven successful at the state level.


Among other provisions, this legislation:


  • Requires all eligible offenders to undergo regular risk assessments to determine whether an offender has a low, medium, or high-risk of recidivism.


  • Excludes all sex offenders, terrorism offenders, violent offenders, repeat offenders, major organized crime offenders, and major fraud offenders from participation in the program.


  • Encourages participation in recidivism reduction programs and productive activities, like prison jobs.


  • Contains no new authorized spending, and requires the mandated recidivism reduction programs to be provided by faith-based groups, non-profits, or through savings generated by the legislation.


  • Allows earned time credits for low-risk prisoners of up to 10 days for every 30 days that the prisoner is successfully completing a recidivism reduction program or productive activity.


  • Allows medium risk prisoners to earn a 5 day for 30 day time credit while successfully completing recidivism reduction programs and productive activities. These offenders would only be able to use these credits if they demonstrate a substantial reduction in their probability of recidivism as a result of participation in programs.


  • Does not allow high risk offenders to use any time credits unless they reduce their risk levels to a lower tier.


  • Would allow certain low risk offenders who demonstrate exemplary behavior to spend the final portion of their earned credit time on community supervision.



  1. 1675 Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act of 2014

All Information (except text) Text of Legislation CRS Summary Major Congressional Actions

All Congressional Actions 

All Congressional Actions with Amendments
With links to Congressional Record pages, votes,reports

Titles Cosponsors (8) Committees
Related Bills Amendments
CBO Cost Estimates Subjects


Cosponsors of S. 1675:


Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] – 3/10/2014


Sen Cornyn, John [TX] – 3/10/2014


Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 3/10/2014


Sen Lee, Mike [UT] – 3/10/2014


Sen Paul, Rand [KY] – 7/10/2014


Sen Portman, Rob [OH] – 11/13/2013


Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 5/14/2014


Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] – 3/10/2014



 Senate Action Items


We need to schedule appointments with key Senate offices.

We propose the following list but would like to add to it:


Senator Dick Durbin – email sent to Senator Durbin’s scheduler 8/4/14, left voicemail for Mara (202.225.3951) on 8/11/14

Senator Harry Reid (D), Majority Leader – contacted 8/11/14

Senator Mitch McConnell (R), Minority Leader – contacted 8/11/14

Senator Cory Booker (D), REDEEM Act – Edwina met with Danny Smith on 8/12/2014

Senator Rand Paul (R), REDEEM Act – meeting scheduled for Friday 8/29 with Bill Easley (Legislative Assistant) –

Senate Judiciary Committee

– Chuck Grassley (R), Ranking Member

– Orrin G. Hatch (R) – contacted 8/11/14

Jeff Sessions (R) – meeting scheduled for Thursday 8/28 at 11AM with Rachel Tucker (Judiciary Counsel)

– John Cornyn (R) – contacted 8/11/14

– Michael S. Lee (R) – contacted 8/11/14

– Ted Cruz (R) – contacted 8/11/14

– Jeff Flake (R) – contacted 8/11/14

– S. Whitehouse (D) – Edwina met with Michael Fisher on 8/12/2014

Senator Fred Ansell (R), Counsel on the Judiciary

Republican Rachel Tucker (Judiciary Scheduler)

Republican David Glaccum (Judiciary Staff)




Meetings are being arranged to start on Tuesday, July 29th.  Please let Edwina Rogers know if you want to attend any of these meetings.  She can be reached at


There are items that need correcting in the Senate bill like the fraud exception.



 US House of Representatives

House Bill HR 2656 is the House counterpart bill.  The Public Safety Enhancement Act of 2013.  Bill Sponsors:  Rep. Chaffetz, et al. There are 25 cosponsors (14 D and 11 R).  In the House Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.  The bill will enhance public safety by improving the effective and efficiency of the Federal prison system with offender risk and needs assessments, individual risk reduction incentives and rewards, and risk and recidivism reduction.


Co-Sponsors are:  Howard Coble, John Conyers, Hakeem Jeffries, Tom Marino, dam Schiff, Robby Scott, Tony Cardenas, Henry Johnson, Steve Cohen, Alan Lowenthal, Eleanor Norton, Beto O’Rourke, Marc Veasey, Spencer Bachus, Theodore Deutch, Richard Hanna, Ted Poe, Judy Chu, Jerroid Nadler, Susan Brooks, Trey Gowdy, Rob Bishop, Paul Ryan, Blake Farenthold, Raul Labrador.





 House Judiciary Committee


Majority (Republicans) Minority (Democrats)
Bob Goodlate, Virginia, Chairman (113th) John Conyers, Michigan, Ranking Member
Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Jerrold Nadler, New York
Howard Coble, North Carolina Bobby Scott, Virginia
Lamar S. Smith, Texas, Former Chairman (112th) Mel Watt, North Carolina
Steve Chabot, Ohio Zoe Lofgren, California
Spencer Bachus, Alabama Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas
Darrell Issa, California Steve Cohen, Tennessee
Randy Forbes, Virginia Hank Johnson, Georgia
Steve King, Iowa Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
Trent Franks, Arizona Judy Chu, California
Louie Gohmert, Texas Ted Deutch, Florida
Jim Jordan, Ohio Luis Gutierrez, Illinois
Ted Poe, Texas Karen Bass, California
Jason Chaffetz, Utah Cedric Richmond, Louisiana
Tom Marino, Pennsylvania Suzan DelBene, Washington
Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Joe Garcia, Florida
Mark Amodei, Nevada Hakeem Jeffries, New York
Raúl Labrador, Idaho David Cicilline, Rhode Island
Blake Farenthold, Texas
George Holding, North Carolina
Doug Collins, Georgia
Ron DeSantis, Florida
Jason T. Smith, Missouri



House Leadership


We need to determine the level of interest shown by the current Republican and Democratic leadership in the House.


Appointments for meetings with House of Representatives are currently being sought.


House Committee on the Judiciary

– Caroline Lynch

– Sarah Allen

– Rob Parameture (202.225.3951)

– Rayburn


Representative Raul Labrador (R), cosponsor of Smarter Sentencing Act


Representative Jason Chaffets (R), cosponsor of Public Safety Enhancement Act HR 2656

(202) 225-7751


Had a meeting with Vanessa Chen on Thursday 8/7/2014



Executive Branch


The US Sentencing Commission decided last week to make almost 50,000 federal prisoners, convicted of non-violent crimes, eligible for reduced sentences. This was met with some resistance by Prosecutors who feared reopening more cases would overcrowd the courts.



The White House is already working on prison reforms through its drug policy reforms ( and the Second Chance Act (


White House

– Domestic Policy Council

– Office of Public Affairs

– Office of Legislative Affairs


Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs


Bureau of Prisons (public or legislative affairs office)



Judicial Branch


US Sentencing Commission

The Commission Staff is holding a briefing for the sentencing advocacy community on their priorities for the 2014-15 Amendment Cycle. This is not a meeting on amendment-specific proposals, but rather an opportunity to speak generally with staff on the Commission’s new priorities.


The briefing on the priorities will take place on Wednesday, September 3 at 1:00 p.m. at the Commission’s offices at the Thurgood Marshall Judiciary Building, One Columbus Circle, NE, Suite 2500, Washington, DC 20002.


Please let Kira Antell know if you or others in your office plan to attend the briefing so I can arrange for access to the building. (202) 502-4544,


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