LULAC Leads the Way in Historic Criminal Justice Reform Success
Nation’s Largest & Oldest Civil Rights Organization Persevered Working Behind the Scenes with Texas Senator John Cornyn
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today praised Texas Senator John Cornyn for trusting in LULAC during the difficult months it took to write and gain support for proposed sweeping changes in the nation’s federal criminal justice laws passed by the Senate Tuesday which will benefit millions of Americans, both in prisons as well as their families whose lives have been impacted.
“Social struggle takes many people working together in a deliberate resolve to make things better,” said Domingo Garcia, National President. “It is heartening to see that LULAC was there during those tough times over the past several years working alongside our elected leaders and when we needed to speak truth to power, that there was a leader like Senator Cornyn willing to listen to us,” he added.
Immediate Past National LULAC President, Roger C. Rocha Jr. served on the select committee that provided much of the research, testimony and outreach which paved the way for the bill to gain bipartisan Congressional support. The First Step Act will expand job training and other programming to reduce the chance of federal prisoners re-offending once they are released. Other key provisions include early-release programs and a change in sentencing laws.
“My discussions with Senator Cornyn and others in Congress were always candid and forthright in conveying what matters most to our Latino community across America,” says Rocha. “It was particularly important he know that LULAC supports affording nonviolent drug offenders an opportunity for rehabilitation, instead of mandatory harsh sentences without regard to the facts in each case and that justice ought to be meted out more equitably,” he said.
On Wednesday, Senator Cornyn said the proposed reforms have already been enacted in Texas and other states and can serve as a model for the federal system. “We can be smarter on crime and produce better results at a lower cost, and that message and those things that have followed have been enormously successful.”
“It will be one of LULAC’s great legacies when we can go out into our communities and tell them that there is more hope than ever now for our youth even when they make mistakes and must face the consequences,” said Rocha. “Rather than a pipeline to prison for years, we now have a pipeline to promise for something better if they want to turn their lives around,” he concluded.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org