Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith Are in Harrisburg Today to Lobby for Criminal Justice Reform

Bill Streicher | USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Jenkins has been an exemplary off-the-field figure for criminal justice reform and racial equality since joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014.

Torrey Smith will join him in that fight in Harrisburg on Wednesday, according to Aaron Kasinitz of Penn Live.

Jenkins was among four players, along with free-agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin and the Detroit Lions’ Glover Quin and Johnson Bademosi, that wrote a column for CNN.com explaining why Attorney General Jeff Sessions giving federal prosecutors the ability to hand out the harshest criminal charges and sentences against crime suspects isn’t a good idea.

Here is a snippet from that column.

Research shows that men who have spent time behind bars earn roughly 40% less in a year than their colleagues who have not.

Red and blue states have already implemented aggressive criminal justice reforms and seen the benefits of those policies, including faster declines in their crime rate. Between 2010 and 2015, according to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts using FBI crime data, the 10 states that reduced their prison population the most saw their overall crime rates drop by an average of 14.6%, while the 10 states with the fastest-growing prison populations saw a much less significant 8.4% reduction in crime.
Congress can do more to help currently and formerly incarcerated people rebuild their lives by removing obstacles to employment for those with records. Prospective government workers and contractors should not be forced to acknowledge past criminal convictions before they get a chance to demonstrate their qualifications for the job.

We also need to invest more resources in rehabilitation and job training for people who are currently behind bars. Research confirms that comprehensive, coordinated services can help formerly incarcerated individuals find stable employment and housing, reducing the chances that they will return to crime and prison. We should make it easier for people who paid the price for their crime to start a new life once their sentence ends, if for no other reason than it will make all of society safer.

Over the past six months, we have twice traveled to Washington to meet with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill about criminal justice reform. It is an issue that is very personal to us. Our friends and communities have felt the sting of harsh prison sentences, and we’ve seen first hand the devastating effects of failed criminal justice reform policies.

You can check out the entire column by clicking here.


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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