Durbin co-sponsors bipartisan sentencing reform bill
U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) spoke out in favor of a new bipartisan bill last week that he says would lower prison populations, cut the federal incarceration budget and keep more people from returning to prison once released.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 would allow federal judges to issue lower minimum sentences for non-violent, low-level drug crimes. Under the new bill, judges currently required to issue mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years would have the option to issue a five year sentence, depending on the details of the case.
“Mandatory minimum sentences were once seen as a strong deterrent," Durbin said. "In reality they have too often been unfair, fiscally irresponsible and a threat to public safety. Given tight budgets and overcrowded prison cells, our country must reform these outdated and ineffective laws that have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars."
The bill also would extend the influence of the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the disparity between sentencing for crack and powder forms of cocaine. More than 6,000 prisoners sentenced before the bill was passed five years ago would be allowed to petition for shortened terms if the bill is signed into law.
The bill currently is being reviewed by a Senate committee.
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