Top U.S. senators have filed a pair of bipartisan bills to lower mandatory minimum sentences for people with non-violent federal drug convictions and protect those facing such charges from having to undergo automatic pre-trial detention.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, filed both pieces of legislation with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
One measure that they introduced is titled the “Smarter Sentencing Act,” which would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug offenses, including manufacturing and distributing certain amounts of illicit drugs.
The mandatory minimum 15-, 10- and 5-year sentences for the covered offenses would be lowered to 10-, 5- and 2-year sentences, respectively. Violent offenders would not be eligible, and only “couriers” (i.e. those whose role was limited to transporting or storing) would receive the lower sentence for importation-related crimes.
The bill further requires the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) to amend its guidance to federal judges to comport with the legislation.
Within six months of enactment, the attorney general would need to submit a report to Congress on the impact of the sentencing changes in terms of cost-savings and incarceration rates—and how those differences could address prison overcrowding,
Top U.S. senators have filed a pair of bipartisan bills to lower mandatory minimum sentences for people with non-violent federal… Continue reading
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