Jun 1, 2016    |    News

Teresa Robertson: A bipartisan sentencing reform bill

Originally appeared in: Daily Camera
By: Teresa Robertson

Last October, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, with 11 bipartisan cosponsors. With more than one-third of senators now signed onto this bill, it should be fast-tracked for a vote on the Senate floor.

The mandatory minimum sentencing laws that arose from our war on drugs have broken up families and ballooned a federal prison system that now consumes over 25 percent of our Department of Justice’s budget.

Although we in the U.S. comprise only 4.4 percent of the world’s population, we can claim 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Each year we spend $80 billion to house more 60 million prisoners. Fifty percent of all U.S. inmates are imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes, 60 percent of whom are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. Only 3 percent of our federal inmates are incarcerated for murder, assault or kidnapping.

Something is really wrong with these numbers. These nonviolent drug offenders are our children, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. S. 2123 will reduce some mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenders. In addition, it will help to to reduce recidivism by providing drug rehabilitation and job training.

Please help me in encouraging Sen. Cory Gardner to join his numerous Republican colleagues and Sen. Michael Bennet in cosponsoring S. 2123 and urging Sen. McConnell to bring it for a full Senate vote. Sen. Gardner can be reached at 202-224-5941.

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