Press

Task Force Calls on U.S. Sentencing Commission to 
Treat All LGBT Prisoners Fairly

Date: 
July 16, 2014

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Task Force Calls on U.S. Sentencing Commission to Treat All LGBT Prisoners Fairly

Retroactive Application of the "All Drugs Minus Two" Policy Would Relieve Strain from Overcrowded Prisons and Give LGBT Defendants Access to Fair Sentencing

WASHINGTON, DC, July 16 — In April, the U.S. Sentencing Commission unanimously passed the "All Drugs Minus Two Amendment," which reduces sentences for most defendants — about 70% — accused of drug trafficking. The Commission is now considering whether to make the new policy retroactive. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force led a coalition of LGBT and civil rights organizations in urging the Commission to apply the new policy to all previously sentenced defendants. The memo the coalition sent to the Commission underscores the importance of this issue to LGBT people, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

"Homophobia and transphobia, particularly when compounded by other intersectional factors like racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and poverty, contribute to discriminatory policing, prosecution, and sentencing of LGBT people," said Meghan Maury, Policy Counsel for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"Retroactive application just makes sense. According to the Commission's own data, retroactivity has little to no effect on recidivism, won't undermine public safety, and will help relieve some of the strain on our overburdened prison system. More importantly, though, it's a matter of equity. There's no reason that a person sentenced in July should serve a longer prison term than a person sentenced in August for the same crime."

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