Should Congress lower certain nonviolent mandatory drug sentences?
• "Our current federal sentencing laws are out of date and often counterproductive. The Smarter Sentencing Act is a common sense solution that will greatly reduce the financial, and more importantly the human, cost imposed on society by the broken status quo. The SSA will give judges the flexibility and discretion they need to impose stiff sentences on the most serious drug lords and cartel bosses, while enabling nonviolent offenders to return more quickly to their families and communities." Source: Senator Mike Lee (Republican, Utah)
This bill modernizes federal drug sentencing policies by lowering certain nonviolent mandatory drug sentences. Federal judges would have the discretion to conduct individual resentencing reviews on nonviolent drug offenses. Those incarcerated who are defined as couriers- had a role transporting or storing drugs or money would have reduced mandatory sentences. The US Sentencing Commission must review and update its guidelines to reflect this bill and produce guidelines that minimize the Federal prison population exceeding the capacity of Federal prisons. This bill is meant to remove Federal resources from nonviolent offenses so that Federal resources are focused on the most serious offenses. Sponsor: Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois)
- Durbin, Lee Introduce Smarter Sentencing Act (Press Release)
- Biden urges leniency for harsh crack sentences fueled by his crime bill (The Hill)
- Reconsidering Mandatory Minimum Sentences: The Arguments For and Against Potential Reforms (Heritage Foundation)
- Federal Sentencing Reform (American Bar Association)