Sentencing Reform Legislation Introduced

Oct 12, 2017

Democratic and Republican Senators are introducing sentencing reform legislation. Three of the bills address changes to federal sentencing guidelines. Enhancement penalties for certain drug offenders would be reduced, firearm offense mandatory minimum would be clarified, the “three strikes and you’re out” mandatory life imprisonment provision would be struck from the law. Judges would also be given more latitude in sentencing for most offenses so that they would not always be bound to impose mandatory minimums. Programs to reduce recidivism would be established. 50 percent of federal offenders end up back in prison within eight years. The legislation would “‘report and inventory . . . all federal criminal offenses,’ a list that would likely be hundreds of thousands of items long.” The Mens Rea Reform Act would restore the tradition of intent to crimes. A person can violate any one of hundreds of thousands of criminal statues without intending to and still end up being convicted of a federal crime and ending up in prison.