Sentencing Reform Has Become A Key Issue For Republicans In The Senate
Article from the Washington Free Beacon by Charles Fain Lehman.
Three bills introduced in the past eight days have put federal sentencing reform front and center in the U.S. Senate’s criminal justice agenda.
Introduced by leaders in the Senate, including Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), and President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), the bills represent the Senate’s latest attempt at comprehensive criminal justice reform, an initiative that failed during the last congressional session.
The prior bill was defeated despite bipartisan support because of bipartisan opposition: conservatives split over the reduction of mandatory minimums, while liberal groups such the American Civil Liberties Union condemned mens rea reform as a “poison pill” and a sop to white collar criminals.
The three new bills are focused on changes to the federal sentencing process. The federal penal system holds almost 190,000 offenders (about eight percent of the U.S. prison and jail population). While that number is down from a 2013 historic high, concerns remain about the size of the federal prison population, as well as its composition. Unlike the state level, where drug crimes play a comparatively small role, 48.1 percent of offenders at the federal level are incarcerated for drug-related crimes.
Read the entire article at the Washington Free Beacon.