In the coming weeks, the U.S. Senate could vote on legislation that would reform disastrous mandatory minimum drug sentencing policies that put so many people behind bars.
The bill, the Smarter Sentencing Act, is the biggest overhaul in federal drug sentencing in decades. In addition to expanding the ability of judges to use their own discretion when sentencing defendants, it would also reform disparities in drug sentencing so that thousands of people can leave prison early.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies like the Smarter Sentencing Act. Together with our supporters, we are working to ensure that America’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
Join DPA in calling for sensible drug policy reforms now. Tell your Senators to support the Smarter Sentencing Act.
I urge you to support bipartisan sentencing reform. The U.S. has less than 5% of the world's population but almost 25% of the world's prisoners. About half of all people in federal prison are there for a drug offense, and in most cases it's the type of low-level, nonviolent drug offense that would be better handled at the local or state level.
In particular, I urge you to cosponsor and support the Durbin/Lee Smarter Sentencing Act. The Senate should pass this groundbreaking sentencing legislation to reform our outdated and unjust drug laws.
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws don't target big-time criminals. Because of these laws, people convicted of nonviolent drug law violations can receive longer sentences than people convicted of rape and murder. These harsh sentencing laws have significantly contributed to our country's appalling mass incarceration problem and they mostly apply to drug law violations.
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Now is the time to pass bipartisan sentencing reform that will save taxpayer money and keep families together.
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