U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) | Contributed photo
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 late last week. The bill was shepherded by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the committee's chairman, and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
The legislation grants judges greater sentencing flexibility for certain low-level drug offenders and establishes recidivism-reduction programs, while targeting violent criminals.
"The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country on earth," Durbin said. "Mandatory minimum sentences were once seen as a strong deterrent. 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 Given tight budgets and overcrowded prison cells, our country must reform these outdated and ineffective laws that have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. This is how the Congress is supposed to work."
Original co-sponsors include U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mike Lee (R-UT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC). Other co-sponsors include U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).