Historic Sentencing Reform Bill Unanimously Passes U.S. House Judiciary Committee

drugwarjailEarlier today the United States House Judiciary Committee gave unanimous approval to the Sentencing Reform Act, a historic bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, expand judges discretions to give sentences lower than the mandatory minimums in some cases, while making most of the sentencing changes apply retroactively.

“This vote today is a significant step toward reducing the federal prison population,” says Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We have a bill moving in the Senate, and now we have a companion bill moving in the House, so I’m optimistic we’ll have legislation on the President’s desk in a matter of months.”

Read moreHistoric Sentencing Reform Bill Unanimously Passes U.S. House Judiciary Committee

Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Bill Passes U.S Senate Judiciary Committee

criminal justice reformThe U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15 to 5 today to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, expand early release programs and expand the federal “safety valve”, (which gives judges discretion to give an individual a sentence lower than the mandatory minimum).

“This vote today is a huge step toward ending the failed policies of the war on drugs,” says Michael Collins, Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “To see Republicans and Democrats join hands to pass this bill gives me great hope we’ll have legislation on the President’s desk very soon.”

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President Obama Calls for Expansive Criminal Justice Reform, Reduction or End to Mandatory Minimums for Drug Offenses

President Obama speeking at the NAACP's 106th annual convention.
President Obama speaking at the NAACP’s 106th annual convention.

During the 106th annual convention of the NAACP, President Obama called for expansive criminal justice reform across the United States.

“Mass incarceration makes our entire country worse off, and we need to do something about it.” said President Obama during the July 14th speech. “In too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails.”

Read morePresident Obama Calls for Expansive Criminal Justice Reform, Reduction or End to Mandatory Minimums for Drug Offenses