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Initiative To Reform Federal Drug Sentencing Passes Through Senate Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, DC — The US Senate Judiciary Committee passed groundbreaking drug sentencing reform Thursday.

The Smarter Sentencing Act represents an overhaul of drug sentencing in America. If passed by the House and Senate, it will reduce mandatory minimum sentences, give judges more discretion, and release some nonviolent drug offenders from prison early.

The Smarter Sentencing Act Receives Bipartisan Support

mike leeAs noted by the Drug Policy Alliance, The Smarter Sentencing Act has received bipartisan support from a “strange bedfellows group of senators.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have each signed on in support.

Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, explains that the social stigma associated with cannabis is on its way out.

“While support for major reform is growing in both political parties, many prosecutors are still living in the dark ages.” – Bill Piper

“From liberal stalwarts to Tea Party favorites there’s now consensus that our country incarcerates too many people, for too much time, at too much expense to taxpayers,” Mr. Piper explains.

US Attorney General Eric Holder urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to reduce the mandatory minimum sentencing, but he was met by opposition from the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

They released a letter stating, “we do not join with those who regard our federal system of justice as ‘broken’ or in need of major reconstruction. Instead, we consider the current federal mandatory minimum sentence framework as well-constructed and well worth preserving.”

“It is disgraceful that prosecutors continue to defend a criminal justice system that is profoundly racially unjust and cruel,” says Mr. Piper. “While support for major reform is growing in both political parties, many prosecutors are still living in the dark ages.”

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Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) New York, New York

The Drug Policy Alliance is among the most prominent organizations for drug policy reform in America. The group was founded in 2000 and its focus spans from medical marijuana to youth drug education.In addition to …