Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pope to highlight plight of prisoners

Of all the timeless and timely issues Pope Francis plans to address during his visit to the United States, there’s one that could result in an actual political “deliverable” — criminal justice reform.

On a U.S. tour that begins next week, Francis is likely to bring up the subject of criminal justice reform during a speech to Congress — the first time a pope has addressed U.S. lawmakers in a joint meeting. The speech comes as senators are ironing out a bipartisan compromise to reform mandatory sentencing laws that have been blamed for swelling the U.S. prison population. Advocates hope Francis’ message of mercy will add moral momentum and overcome a summer crime wave and renewed tough-on-crime rhetoric from the GOP primary field that threatens to dampen support for the deal.

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