Durbin: Federal nonviolent-drug-crime sentencing needs reform
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) stressed the need on Monday to reform federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenses.
Durbin also discussed the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bipartisan bill he introduced earlier this year, which would modernize federal drug sentencing laws by giving federal judges more discretion in sentencing defendants convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.
“Once seen as a strong deterrent, mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses have too often been unfair, fiscally irresponsible and a threat to public safety,” Durbin said. “Given tight budgets and overcrowded prison cells, judges should be given more authority to conduct an individualized review in sentencing certain drug offenders and not be bound to outdated laws that have been ineffective and cost taxpayers billions. Being tough on crime doesn’t mean simply voting reflexively for ever-harsher punishments, no matter the cost or consequences. Being tough on crime means being tough on failed criminal justice policies.”
Safer Foundation has expressed support for Durbin's bill.
“These changes will prevent many people, especially minority individuals, from unnecessarily entering the prison system or at a minimum bring some rationality to the sentences they receive," Victor Dickson, president and CEO of Safer Foundation, said.
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