By Stephen Sebald

On average, there are 200,000 inmates behind bars in overpopulated federal prisons. Overcrowding—at 30 percent above the rated capacity jeopardizes the safety of correctional officers, staff, and prisoners. With nearly half of inmates serving sentences for drug crimes, the reason for this is partly due to the drug laws and minimum sentence requirements. These harsh penalties were established decades ago to deter drug use, but instead have locked up a multitude of non-violent offenders for long periods of time. Sentencing reform is a necessary step needed to reduce the hundreds of thousands of prisoners overflowing the justice system.

Several lawmakers, libertarian-leaning senators and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have long advocated sentencing reform. The petition has gained the support of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Chuck Glassley. Mr. Glassley, whose long opposed stance once created a roadblock for the advancement of modifying mandatory minimums, has announced that he is willing to discuss moving forward with sentence reform.

Even with Glassley aboard, congress remains divided. Conservative members remain unwilling to pass reform. Some think it will make them look “soft on crime” and damage their political careers. Others believe that the mandatory penalties are appropriate for drug offenders.

While the laws remain the same, the penalties for non-violent drug offenses will remain unforgiving. If you are facing drug charges, you need the expertise of a defense attorney who is capable of identifying every possible opportunity to avoid conviction or get reduced penalties on a drug crime charge. Our vast experience in state and federal court puts us in the unique possession to provide the most focused and aggressive defense possible. Contact Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox today at (814) 833-1987.