This article was originally published by Mike Riggs, on October 22, 2015 on FAMM.org
WASHINGTON, DC — FAMM President Julie Stewart today said that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s overwhelming bipartisan support for a federal sentencing and prison reform bill increases the likelihood that important mandatory minimum sentencing reforms will become law. The bill, S. 2123, The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, was approved by a bipartisan vote of 15 to 5.
“We have argued for years that our federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws unfairly punish low-level offenders without making the public any safer,” said Stewart. “Today, Senators from across the political spectrum made it clear that they agree. Today’s vote begins the process of undoing these costly and counterproductive laws.”
Specifically, the bill includes provisions to:
- Reduce the mandatory life without parole sentence for a third drug offense to a mandatory minimum term of 25 years in prison (retroactive);
- Reduce the mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for a second drug offense to a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in prison (retroactive);
- Narrowly define which prior offenses can trigger longer mandatory minimum drug sentences;
- Make the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) of 2010 retroactive, allowing approximately 5,300 crack cocaine offenders sentenced before August 3, 2010, to seek sentences in line with that law’s reforms to the 100-to-one disparity between crack and powder cocaine mandatory minimum sentences;
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