Prepared Remarks by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
To the Aleph Institute
S. 2123, The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act
Thank you, Rabbi Liskar and the Aleph Institute for organizing today’s event. The institute has been helpful for a long time in working to gain support for the Sentencing Reform and CORRECTIONS Act.
This bill brings together a wide range of Senate supporters. We all gained something and we all gave up something. What started out as an across the board cut for mandatory minimum sentences regardless of circumstances became much more targeted. We did not want to help offenders with a record of violence. But we did want to give judges more discretion where the offender was in fact non-violent and low-level. And we continued to make changes to the bill after the Judiciary Committee reported it out, which brought us additional Republican cosponsors.
The negotiations were difficult all along the way, as is always the case with a true compromise.
Not only do a wide range of members across the ideological spectrum support the bill, but so do a broad set of organizations. Some, like yours, are religious, including nearly every religious group in this country. There are law enforcement groups that are supportive. Fiscal conservative groups appreciate the cost savings the bill generates. There is also much-appreciated support from the civil rights community and various legal groups.
If other members are like me, the calls and letters from Iowans are strongly supportive of the bill.
There is more to the bill than mandatory minimum sentencing changes, of course.
The CORRECTIONS Act is designed to provide certain federal prisoners the opportunity to reduce their jail time if they successfully complete programs that have been shown to reduce the risk of reoffending.
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