Crime

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September 28, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1693, the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act: “For years, we have known that harsh drug sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine have created a racially disparate impact on Black communities. The bipartisan EQUAL Act is the next step on the long road toward eliminating this unfair sentencing disparity. In 2009, I led the effort in the House to eliminate this disparity in the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act.
July 21, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Don Bacon (R-NE) applauded the passage of the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act out of the House Judiciary Committee 36 to 5. The bipartisan legislation would eliminate the federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity and retroactively apply it to those already convicted or sentenced. “The failed war on drugs, which started 50 years ago, has devastated lives, families and communities across our country. For decades, the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine has been used to fuel a mass incarceration epidemic that has unjustly put millions behind bars for too long and cost taxpayers billions of dollars without benefiting public safety.
July 21, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Within the first two weeks of re-entry, individuals released from correctional facilities are 129 times more likely to die from an opioid overdose than the general population. To help ensure that individuals can access the care they need, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced the Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act. This legislation would require states to suspend, rather than terminate, an individual’s Medicaid coverage while they are incarcerated, ensuring access to addiction treatment, mental health services, and medications in the critical, immediate days and weeks after release.
May 21, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after speaking with U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta: “Hampton Roads is still shocked by recent events of police-involved violence in our community. That is why I had a conversation yesterday with Associate Attorney General Gupta regarding the investigation of the shooting of Donovon Lynch in Virginia Beach and the disturbing traffic stop of Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario. Associate Attorney General Gupta told me that officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) are monitoring the Commonwealth’s actions and that they are aware of the publicly available discrepancies in the accounts of these events.
March 19, 2021 In The News
Kevin Ring worked on Capitol Hill during the crafting of the 1994 Crime Bill, which imposed tougher prison sentences and bolstered the War on Drugs. As he remembers it, members of both parties were obsessed with appearing tough on crime. “You couldn’t go far enough,” said Ring, who’s now the president of sentencing reform organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “Three strikes? How about two strikes? How about one strike? We couldn’t be punitive enough to satisfy what we thought was public anger about crime and drugs.” Over 25 years after the 1994 Crime Bill and 35 years after the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the War on Drugs is considered by experts and government officials alike to be one of the biggest failures of American governance in the 20th century.
March 9, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act. The bipartisan legislation would eliminate the federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity and retroactively apply it to those already convicted or sentenced. The sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine, at one point as high as 100 to 1, helped fuel the mass incarceration epidemic. 81% of individuals convicted of crack cocaine offenses in 2019 were Black, while historically 66% of crack cocaine users have been white or Hispanic. In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act reduced the sentencing disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1, and in 2018 the FIRST STEP Act made that reduction retroactive.
March 3, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1208, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act: "Last summer, Americans across the country protested the murder of George Floyd by law enforcement. They marched to demand an end to police misconduct and more accountability in our criminal justice system. Today, the House responded by passing the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.
December 20, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, following the release of the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Omnibus bill text, Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment Chair Susan Davis (CA-53), and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chair Alma Adams (NC-12) celebrated the major Democratic priorities for higher education included in the spending bill. The bill expands the Pell Grant program, which will result in hundreds of thousands of students becoming newly eligible for Pell and millions of current recipients receiving larger awards. The bill also repeals the ban on Pell eligibility among incarcerated students and restores Pell Grant eligibility for students defrauded by their institutions.
December 16, 2020 In The News
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than two dozen members of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday called on federal prison and health officials for details about how inmates will be vaccinated for COVID-19, questioning whether the most vulnerable prisoners will have priority access. In a letter to Federal Bureau of Prisons director Michael Carvajal and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Robert Redfield, 26 lawmakers, led by Democratic Representative Bobby Scott, expressed concerns about the prison system’s existing plan for vaccine distribution.
December 16, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) led 25 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Robert Redfield, the Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Michael Carvajal, the Director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, urging them to include incarcerated individuals as a priority population in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. “The national vaccine distribution strategy will place competing priorities on our collective resources and public health system,” the Members wrote. “However, ignoring the growing COVID-19 infection crisis in American jails and prisons would be a dire mistake and undermine any national effort to contain the virus. COVID-19 is spreading four times faster in prisons than the general public.”