criminal justice

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-5 to advance the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) following hearings on the bill.

The bipartisan legislation has the backing of the Committee’s chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and ranking member, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and several other members of the panel.

The bill includes provisions to:

  • Reduce the mandatory life without parole sentence for a third drug or violent offense to a mandatory minimum term of 25 years in prison (retroactive);
  • Reduce the mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for a second drug or violent 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 6,500 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;
  • Expand the drug “safety valve” exception so that nonviolent drug offenders with non-serious criminal histories can receive sentences below the mandatory minimum term (not retroactive);
  • Reduce the 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for certain gun possession offenses by people with criminal records to a mandatory minimum term of 10 years (retroactive);
  • Reduce the 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for those who commit multiple offenses of possessing guns in the course of drug trafficking offenses to a mandatory minimum term of 15 years (retroactive), and apply that penalty to people with prior violent state convictions; and
  • Allow some categories of federal prisoners to earn time credits for completing rehabilitative programs and “cash in” those time credits at the end of their sentences for a transfer to a different type of supervision, such as a halfway house.

Several law enforcement groups, including the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC), Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association (FBIAA), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), the Major County Sheriff’s Association (MCSA), among others, sent letters to the committee critical of the legislation.

The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys (NAAUSA) also criticized the bill.

Not all law enforcement organizations oppose the bill. The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) supports the legislation, as do many civil rights and civil liberties groups.

While law enforcement support for the measure is viewed to be important to its overall success and passage, the strong bipartisan agreement on the bill coming out of the committee, coupled with the support of the White House and a broad coalition of organizations on the left and right suggests criminal justice reform may be one area where Congress can find bipartisan agreement and send a bill to the President’s desk.

Posted in General News

Tags: Senate


This Week on FEDtalk

Navigating Plans for Summer with the National Park Service

Do you know what you are doing this summer? To find out what our National Parks have to offer, tune in to FEDtalk this Friday and start planning your trip!

Read more ...

Hear it from FLEOA

FLEOA Highlights Important Policy, People During Police Week

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) is continually committed to serving our members and the federal law enforcement community. This Police Week, FLEOA has dedicated special time and attention to pushing policy that helps the law enforcement community protect and serve their community. From events highlighting the importance of police to meetings on the Hill, FLEOA is excited to engage the public and policy makers on law enforcement issues during this time of heightened awareness.

Read more ...

The free weekly e-report for Federal Law Enforcement

Get in touch with us

Email FEDagent publisher

Copyright 2019
Hosted by Peak Media Company, LLC