Friday, September 28, 2012

The Bottom 1%

The Top 1% has been so talked about this year, we've forgotten the bottom 1%.  And, as this article notes, that bottom 1% is mostly in prison.


Prisoners are, indeed, the poorest of the poor in America.  A good prison wage would be over a dollar an hour.  Usually, it's less than that.  How do we fix the woes of the bottom one percent?  Economist David R. Henderson of Stanford University's Hoover Institution wrote the article, and his solutions might surprise you:
Why should we care? To see why, let’s divide the prison population into two groups: (1) prisoners who are serving time for having committed victimless crimes, and (2) those who are there because they committed crimes against victims. I maintain that we should care about both but in different ways.

Consider first the group, which I care most about: Those who committed victimless crimes such as drug using, drug cultivating, drug selling, gambling, and prostitution. Of the 2.3 million people in prison in 2008, over 560,000—more than 24 percent—were there for non-violent drug offenses. (I’m assuming that a non-violent drug offense is a victimless crime. It’s hard to see how it could be otherwise. Stealing to support a drug habit can be non-violent, but stealing would not be classified as a drug crime.)

It’s already unjust that they are in prison since they harmed no one. The person who sold drugs, for example, sold them, which means that someone voluntarily bought them. We may question the wisdom of using such drugs as marijuana and cocaine, but the people who use them should be free to make their own decisions. They might make bad decisions, but should people go to prison for making bad decisions that hurt no one but, perhaps, themselves? Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush have admitted using illegal drugs. Would society have been better off if they had spent time in prison?

People who are in prison for victimless crimes are poor mainly because the government has made them poor—by putting them in prison. There’s a simple solution: Let them out of prison. ...
So let me get this straight: High-income people are paying lots of taxes so that the government can put poor people in prison and keep them poor or put non-poor people in prison and make them poor.

We hear the Occupy Wall Street people—and President Obama—advocate taxing the top 1 percent more. I've got a better idea: Let's tax the top 1 percent less and let a few hundred thousand of the bottom one percent out of prison—and out of poverty.
Sound crazy?  Leave your thoughts in a comment.

Good and Mad Reading for the Weekend

It's that time again.  This weekend's Good and Mad Reading comes from the ABA Journal.  It's a lengthy but temperature-raising article about private prisons and how they are -- and aren't -- capitalizing on prison overcrowding and harsh sentencing laws.

For some context on private prisons:
The private incarceration business remains a relatively small (though powerful) interest, housing about 7 percent of state prisoners and slightly more than 16 percent of federal ones. The numbers and percentages took off in the 1990s with tougher laws and federal subsidies for state prisons before entering a business-model and scandal-fueled tailspin late in the decade. They picked up again and increased by more than a third in state prisons during the 2000s, with even greater growth on the federal side thanks to immigration enforcement after 9/11. The two largest companies, the Corrections Corporation of America and the Geo Group, reported combined revenues of $2.9 billion in 2010. The CCA houses about 80,000 prisoners. Of the more than 60 facilities it operates, it owns 44.
Business may be at risk for these companies, though, because states are wising up and downsizing their prison populations for the first time in decades through smart, cost-effective reforms like alternatives to incarceration, high-intensity supervision (like Hawaii's HOPE program), and better back-end management of probation and supervised release. That risk of shrinking business may be what inspired CCA's recent decision to require that states it contracts with keep the privately-run prisons at 90% of capacity.  In other words:  Fill the beds, or forgeddaboudit.  This dubious contract term asks states who want to use private prisons to maintain a steady flow of prisoners -- exactly what most states cannot afford right now.

The good news is that states may not be taking the bait.  Taxpayers, prisoners, and communities stand to benefit from better sentencing and supervision solutions -- and there is a growing movement of conservatives that agree.  We don't need to have the world's biggest prison population and harshest sentences to stay safe -- what we really need is the smartest, most humane system.

Maybe, just maybe, we're doing what Great Britain did in the early-to-mid 1800s:  realizing that we can't incarcerate our way out of our crime problems (which, by the way, are historically small right now).  FAMM has never opposed prison time for people who need and deserve it, but we offer this parting thought from the article on our general over-use of incarceration as something to mull over this weekend:
Prisons account, on average, for 88 percent of state corrections budgets. Prisons have become expensive warehouses where all that matters is time served. One result has been to produce, on average, even more hardened criminals as nonviolent offenders turn into violent ones, especially when returned to the streets abruptly and with little or no training, counseling or bonds to the community.
You tell us:  does that sound effective, cost-saving, sustainable, safe, or humane?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Opponents of mandatory minimum reform are no strangers to engaging in misleading debate and questionable rhetorical strategies. One of the tactics to watch for is “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose," or, as I like to put it, HIWTYL. (Rhymes with "futile," which is fitting in a way.) 


It goes like this: when crime rates are high or on the rise, supporters of mandatory minimums argue we need inflexible sentencing policies to combat crime. But when crime rates are low or falling, they argue we need the same inflexible sentencing policies to prevent crime rates from going up.

HIWTYL.

I’m going to keep an eye out for HIWTYL in next year’s Florida legislative session. Here’s why.

Earlier this year, Florida Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff proposed an important reform to Florida’s indefensible drug sentencing laws. In response, State Attorney Brad King, on behalf of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association (FPAA), spoke against Bogdanoff’s reforms. King’s presentation was unimpressive, but his point was that prescription drug abuse was such a problem in Florida that we simply couldn’t afford to make any changes to Florida’s sentencing laws, lest it send the signal that Florida wasn’t taking the problem seriously. (Never mind that Attorney General Pam Bondi has made fighting prescription drug abuse one of her top priorities, and never mind that the legislature and Governor have taken extraordinary steps toward reducing the supply of illegal prescription drugs.) King’s point was clear: reforming mandatory minimums is surrendering in the “war” against painkiller abuse.

King ignored, of course, that, while Florida’s prison admissions for “trafficking” in opioids quadrupled from 2006-2011 (50% of those offenders were arrested for possessing or selling fewer than 30 pills), the death rate from Oxycodone overdoses increased 264% from 2003-2009. In other words, King ignored that Florida’s prescription drug epidemic really began after the state passed mandatory minimums for “trafficking” in prescription painkillers, and got worse until we tried something different.

Now, it appears that “something different” might be paying off. A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  (SAMHSA) shows prescription drug abuse declined 14% nationally among people ages 18-25  from 2010-2011. Here in Florida, a 2011 FDLE report indicates that deaths caused by Oxycodone and Hydrocodone dropped from 2010-2011, as did incidences of either drug found in deceased persons (-10.4% and -12.4%, respectively).

One wonders, however, whether those encouraging trends will affect the positions of FPAA and other entrenched special interests who oppose sentencing reform reflexively. When prescription drug abuse rates were on the rise, FPAA argued we need mandatory minimums. Now that they seem to be falling, how will FPAA react? Will they acknowledge that mandatory minimums haven’t helped deter prescription drug abuse (and won’t), but that other, more creative solutions seem to have? Will they recognize that the encouraging trends in prescription abuse should serve as an opening to pass reforms that could save taxpayers millions and reduce recidivism, in the hopes of continuing those positive trends?

Or will King and his fellow prosecutors say, “HIWTYL!” and argue that falling rates of prescription drug abuse prove that mandatory minimums are working? I hope not, but if they do, it will confirm that at least some special interest groups oppose reform not out of a commitment to public welfare, but rather out of the naked self-interest that too often blocks real reform when it’s needed most.

~ Greg Newburn
FAMM Florida Project Director

A New Definition of "Tough on Crime"

"There's nothing tougher on crime, and better for public safety, than ensuring that people who get out of prison don't commit new crimes." --  Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston


Texans should be hootin' and hollerin' over a new report from the Council of State Governments' Justice Center project, which shows that the state's recidivism rate has dropped by 22% between 2000 and 2007.

Pop quiz:  How did Texas do it?  

(a) Pass more mandatory minimum sentences
(b) Increase sentence lengths
(c) Build and fill more prisons  
(d) None of the above.

If you answered (d), you must be a faithful SentenceSpeak reader, because that is correct.

Texas got smart on crime with more treatment and rehabilitation -- and Chairman Whitmire is right:  there's nothing tougher on crime than being smart on crime.  (If only all lawmakers would adopt Chairman Whitmire's definition of "tough on crime"!) The real proof is in the pudding:  what reduces crime the most, at the least cost, with the best results for both offenders and communities, is what is tough on crime.  (Mandatory minimum sentences, by the way, fail all parts of that test.)
"The numbers are significant, but the real impact is fewer crime victims," said Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, an architect of reforms starting in 2007 that greatly expanded rehabilitation and treatment programs. "For every person who doesn't go back to prison, there is one fewer crime, one fewer crime victim."
The report generally hails the dropping recidivism rates as proof that the emergence of additional rehabilitation and treatment programs is working, even as some criminologists note that the average age of offenders is rising — and older people tend to commit fewer crimes than younger ones.
"As policymakers are under tremendous pressure to cut spending wherever possible, Republican and Democratic elected officials alike have made the case that improved efforts to reduce reoffense rates among people released from prison would save money and increase public safety," the report states. "Many states are now presenting data that indicates declines in statewide recidivism rates."
Those other states:  Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, Vermont, Mississippi, Oregon.

Read the full report here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Far California Has Come

A recent article in The Recorder at Law.com details just how far California has come in the last 18 years on reforming its infamous three-strikes law.
Six years ago Stanford Law School lecturer Michael Romano helped launch the Three Strikes Project, a unique student-fueled organization that represents inmates serving life in prison under California's strict sentencing law.
Six weeks from now, state voters could put the project out of business — or at least change its mission dramatically. And that's OK with Romano.
Romano, along with Stanford law professor David Mills and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund counsel Jeffrey Robinson, wrote Proposition 36. The ballot measure would bar 25-to-life sentences — the current penalty for all third strikers — for some felons whose most recent crimes are classified as nonserious or nonviolent. Defendants previously convicted of an "extremely violent" crime, including murder and rape, would still face a third-strike life sentence no matter how minor their current offenses.
Current inmates — the very clients the Three Strikes Project serves now — would be able to petition courts for resentencing if nonserious or nonviolent crimes triggered their third-strike convictions.
"We're cautiously optimistic," Romano said of the initiative's chances. They should be. Recent polling suggests Prop 36 is headed toward victory on Nov. 6.
If successful, Prop 36 supporters will have accomplished something politicians and activists tried and failed to do twice over the past 18 years: amend a popular Three Strikes law that voters enacted with 72 percent of the vote in 1994.
So, what has changed?  According to the article, reforming the three strikes provision hasn't been on the political radar much in this election year, and Prop 36 has the support of the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys and Los Angeles's police chief.  It probably doesn't hurt that the reform, if passed, would save money and some of the rare bed space in California's already over-stocked prisons.

But maybe it's the terrible stories -- 25-to-life for stealing slices of pizza and golf clubs -- that have pushed the public ahead of lawmakers on the issue.  We gather Faces of FAMM because we know a human story can change a heart and mind better than mounds of data and statistics.

The referendum giveth, and the referendum taketh away. We shall see which it is in California on November 6.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Sentencing of Shalom Rubashkin

You don't have to kill someone -- or even be a major drug trafficker -- to get major time in federal prison.  It's a common misperception among the American public.  FAMM's Vice President and General Counsel, Mary Price, debunks that myth in this piece over at The Huffington Post, describing the story of Shalom Rubashkin, a first-time offender serving 27 years for a nonviolent offense:
Sholom Rubashkin ... has attained cause celebre status for the remarkable events surrounding his trial and sentencing. Everything about this case is BIG. Months of planning and hundreds of agents went into pulling off a 2009 raid at Rubashkin's kosher meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa. More than 375 workers were arrested -- many ultimately deported -- and hundreds of charges lodged against Rubashkin alleging child labor and immigration law violations. He was acquitted of every one.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors transformed one count of bank fraud into more than 90 counts by the time the case went to trial. Rubashkin was convicted on most, and the government dropped its next bomb: It planned to ask the judge to impose a sentence of life in prison. This was too much for 23 former high-ranking Department of Justice officials and U.S. Attorneys. They sent an unprecedented letter to the judge decrying the audacity of the proposal. The government blinked and reduced its request to 25 years.

On June 21, 2010, Judge Linda Reade sentenced this first-time, nonviolent, well-regarded defendant to 27 years in federal prison.

Only after the trial did the defense receive stunning news. Judge Reade had met secretly and repeatedly with prosecutors and law enforcement in the months before the agents descended on the plant, helping to plan the raid and coordinate the processing of arrested workers. Legal experts cried foul, and Rubashkin's counsel raised serious questions about Judge Reade's objectivity and investment in ensuring a harsh outcome.
There are a number of problems with Rubashkin's case and sentence, but one of the biggest is that the sentencing guidelines for fraud offenses are in serious need of reform -- and provide serious temptation to prosecutors to abuse their un-reviewable power to charge:
First, the amount of monetary "loss," whether real or merely intended, has become the big driver of sentence lengths. The guideline does not account for intent, or even if the offender personally benefitted from the crime. People who offend to keep a business afloat are treated the same as those who offend for their own personal gain. The guideline also fails to differentiate between those who pose a significant danger of reoffending and those who will likely have learned their lesson.

Second, redundant sentencing enhancements for ubiquitous conduct, including for committing the fraud using "sophisticated means" or affecting 250 or more people, quickly inflate sentences beyond reason.

Such high sentences are very attractive to prosecutors ...
There's plenty of blame to go around for the sometimes absurdly unjust results in our system -- judges, prosecutors, Congress, the U.S. Sentencing Commission -- but what counts is taking action to fix them.  The U.S. Sentencing Commission is doing a review of the fraud guidelines right now, and FAMM is keeping a close eye on it.

We hope the future holds reforms -- and not more Rubashkins.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FAMM at Congressional Black Caucus Conference This Week

FAMM is honored to have the chance to speak not once but twice at this week's annual conference of the Congressional Black Caucus here in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, September 20, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. EST, Government Affairs Counsel Molly Gill will be on a panel hosted by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) discussing mandatory minimum laws and the disturbing racial disparity among pardon recipients unearthed by ProPublica reporter Dafna Linzer.

On Friday, September 21, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST, President Julie Stewart will be on a panel hosted by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) discussing the progress of criminal justice reform during the Obama administration and the challenges ahead.

We're always excited to share FAMM's work and vision for a better criminal justice system -- and to learn from other panelists.  Representatives Conyers and Waters have both stood against mandatory minimum sentencing laws for years, and we are grateful for all the times they have taken that stance.

Coming to You This Fall in Massachusetts


Mark your calendars, Massachusetts FAMM supporters, because we have a lot of action coming your way this Fall.

You can attend one of our free, open-to-the-public meetings and learn more about sentencing reform in Massachusetts.  Please RSVP by contacting Massachusetts Project Director Barb Dougan at (617) 543-0878 or by email at bdougan@famm.org (include your phone number, just in case there's a last-minute change or update).

Or, tune in to our live Facebook chat with Barb on November 15 at noon and again at 7 p.m. EST.

And if you just can't stand to wait another second for Mass. sentencing news, here's the text of Barb's letter to the editor in The Boston Globe today, regarding the mistakes made recently at the state drug lab:
The more we learn about the state drug lab mess, the worse it gets ("Two drug lab officials out in wake of chemist scandal," Page A1, Sept. 14). But there's a larger policy issue here that needs to be addressed. For the most part, Massachusetts' drug-sentencing laws are based on the weight of drugs involved in an offense, rather than what a person actually did. This has to change.

Whether someone must be sent to prison, and for how long, too often depends on weights that are measured in mere grams - a Sweet'N Low packet weighs one gram. These same laws require mandatory minimum sentences, one-size-fits-all penalties that are often disproportionate to the seriousness of the crime.

It doesn't matter whether the person was a kingpin or a low-level player, enjoyed the profits or sold drugs to feed her addiction, is a hardened criminal or did one stupid thing. Sentences are predetermined by drug weights alone, and everyone pays the same price, as do taxpayers who foot the hefty bill.

The drug-sentencing reforms that were signed into law last month were a step in the right direction. But they still maintain a system of mandatory sentences that prevent individualized punishment. Mandatory minimums for drug offenses must be repealed.

Barbara J. Dougan

Monday, September 17, 2012

Babies Behind Bars

That's the title of this fascinating series on a controversial Indiana state prison program that allows mothers to raise their babies while they -- both mom and child -- are incarcerated.
All pregnant prisoners in Indiana are sent to serve at the Indiana Women's prison, which is the only state facility with the resources, birthing about 60 babies a year.
As you can imagine, all of those babies need a home. Some are shipped off to family members, the others to foster care. That's why the prison decided to find a way for some mothers to keep their babies while serving time.

Shanah Howell is one of 10 mothers allowed to keep her baby in the coveted Baby Dorm.
"There's been some negativity as far as babies shouldn't be in prison and that type of thing but if you could just see the faces on these mothers,” Betty Cunningham of the Indiana Women’s Prison said.
The prison said the babies are absolutely safe while living with the offenders.
"We're not going to have anyone with any violent crimes living over on that unit around those children,” Cunningham said.
Shanah and other moms are all in prison for non-violent crimes. Also, their sentences must be short; mom and baby must be released within 18 months.
Does the program actually help women avoid coming back to prison?
A successful mother may mean a real chance at a crime-free life.
On average 32 percent of Indiana female inmates return to prison within three years of their release.
But will a mother-baby bond keep women like Shanah from behind bars?
"Only a couple of them have been back and it was not for new charges it was violations of some sort,” Cunningham said.
The Baby Dorm started just three years ago, the prison said it's too early to have any solid statistics on the return rates for inmates.
They believe in a couple years they'll be able to track a real change because of the Baby Dorm.
All of the supplies from the baby dorm from clothes to diapers come from donations.
Women are one of the fastest-growing demographics in prisons, in Indiana and elsewhere.  Most have children. (Read our factsheet here.)

What do you think about this kind of program?  Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Drugs, Drugs, Everywhere

The New York Times has reported some findings that shouldn't be surprising to anyone who sees too much punishment and not enough treatment in our ongoing War on Drugs:  even American troops with drug abuse problems aren't getting the help they need.

Despite a well-documented increase in the abuse of alcohol and prescription medications among military personnel over the past decade, the Defense Department’s strategies for screening, treating and preventing those problems remains behind the times, a major new report finds. ...
The report noted that while rates of illicit and prescription drug abuse are relatively low, the rate of medication misuse — particularly of opioid pain killers — has risen sharply: 11 percent of active-duty personnel reported misusing prescription drugs in 2008, up from 2 percent in 2002.
Such prescription-drug abuse is rising faster within the military than among civilians, and is perhaps more common than the use of illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana. Yet the military’s drug-testing regimen, created in the post-Vietnam era, continues to focus on certain illegal drugs that may not be the main problem anymore, the 14-member panel concluded.
Also problematic: many soldiers don't seek treatment because of the stigma attached to doing so.

Drug abuse is not reserved for the streets.  It's in homes, families, schools, workplaces, and, yes, in the fighting ranks of America's military.  For the last 25 years, prison time -- and lots of it -- has been our primary response to drug abuse.  Prison is just one tool we have.  There are other options out there -- solutions that keep the public safe, hold people accountable, and help people recover -- and we need to use them and keep improving on them as much as we can -- for the sake of our soldiers and all our loved ones.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Good and Mad Reading for the Weekend

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has some pretty upsetting (but hardly surprising, considering our ongoing love affair with mandatory sentencing laws) findings to offer on the overstuffed federal prison system:
The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) 9.5 percent population growth from fiscal years 2006 through 2011 exceeded the 7 percent increase in its rated capacity, and BOP projects continued population growth. Growth was most concentrated among male inmates, and in 2011, 48 percent of the inmates BOP housed were sentenced for drugs. From fiscal years 2006 through 2011, BOP increased its rated capacity by about 8,300 beds as a result of opening 5 new facilities and closing 4 minimum security camps, but because of the population expansion, crowding (or population in excess of rated capacity) increased from 36 to 39 percent. In 2011 crowding was most severe (55 percent) in highest security facilities. BOP’s 2020 long-range capacity plan projects continued growth in the federal prison population from fiscal years 2012 through 2020, with systemwide crowding exceeding 45 percent through 2018. 
According to BOP, the growth in the federal inmate population has negatively affected inmates, staff, and infrastructure, but BOP has acted within its authority to help mitigate the effects of this growth. BOP officials reported increased use of double and triple bunking, waiting lists for education and drug treatment programs, limited meaningful work opportunities, and increased inmate-to-staff ratios. These factors, taken together, contribute to increased inmate misconduct, which negatively affects the safety and security of inmates and staff. BOP officials and union representatives voiced concerns about a serious incident occurring. To manage its growing population, BOP staggers meal times and segregates inmates involved in disciplinary infractions, among other things.
The five states in GAO’s review have taken more actions than BOP to reduce their prison populations, because these states have legislative authority that BOP does not have. These states have modified criminal statutes and sentencing, relocated inmates to local facilities, and provided inmates with additional opportunities for early release. BOP generally does not have similar authority. For example, BOP cannot shorten an inmate’s sentence or transfer inmates to local prisons. Efforts to address the crowding issue could include (1) reducing the inmate population by actions such as reforming sentencing laws, (2) increasing capacity by actions such as constructing new prisons, or (3) some combination of both.
Overcrowded prisons do nothing good for public safety -- not good for guards, prisoners, or the tax-paying public.

Mandatory minimums are more than partly to blame.  Sentencing reform has got to be part of the solution.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Exposing Tragedy Through Song: "Elmira" by Rench

If you watch the hit FX show “Justified” (and you should), you’re no doubt familiar with “Gangstagrass,” the bluegrass/hip-hop group responsible for the show’s great theme song. You might be less familiar with Rench, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/producer who’s also the brains behind the group.

Yesterday on Twitter the guys in Gangstagrass told me they were opposed to mandatory minimums, and reminded me that Rench mentioned mandatory sentencing in one of the songs on his 2006 record, “Life in Mean Season.”

Elmira” tells the story of two brothers from a factory town, and the path each takes after the “factory shut down” and their father “lost his job like the rest of the town.”

One of the brothers - the song’s narrator - leaves Elmira for “the city” after his father’s death, and works various jobs, anything to keep from going back to the desolate, disintegrating Elmira. His brother stays behind.

After the rent goes up and the narrator can’t afford to make ends meet, he refuses to go back home. He “got the chance for some dirty cash and he had to take it.” For “a cold G every month,” the narrator agrees to “store packages at his place every night” and “keep them out of sight.” He tells himself “it was temporary; something legit would come [his] way,” but after a year he still found himself in the same position.

You can probably see where this is going.

In the wintertime feds came and made their case. But I knew that I'd be dead if I witnessed for the State. The sentence was mandatory, the judge apologized, when they sent me back where my daddy died.
I won’t give away what happens next in the song, but it’s a brilliant turn on an otherwise traditional prison ballad.

Elmira” is the product of a great artist telling the truth about one of life’s tragedies through a fictional story. Unfortunately, that story is all too real for far too many people. Judges do apologize to defendants, and some even cry when they are forced to impose obviously unjust sentences on people who simply don’t deserve them.

Greg Newburn
Florida Project Director, FAMM

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to School, Back (?) to Work

Last week was a slow week in sentencing news, so our apologies for not having much to say -- but we're guessing that most of you were too busy enjoying the last of the summer vacation (or getting ready to head back to school) to read much, anyway.  Congress was away most of August, too, and returns to work this week.

But FAMM didn't take time off, so it's not "back to work" for us.  We've been hard at work throughout this August here in DC, running up to Capitol Hill and meeting with congressional staff and people in the Department of Justice, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and the U.S. Judicial Conference, telling them to reform mandatory sentencing laws that make no sense.

Read about FAMM's dog days of August here, in this month's "Julie on Justice."

You can help us keep working hard throughout this Fall and the next Congress by giving a tax-deductable donation to our work -- just click here to give.