Yesterday the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation known as the Smarter Sentencing Act. The committee is made up of unusual team of senators which include Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Carl Levin (D-MI), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). This team of liberals and Tea Party heroes came together to address this mass incarceration, racial disparities in sentencing and the extreme cost of incarceration which is detrimental to the social structure of US.
According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the action by the “Senate Judiciary Committee to report legislation to reduce severe mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenders is an important first step toward addressing rising federal prison costs and a federal prison population that far exceeds capacity. I am gratified that the Committee acted consistently with several of the specific recommendations the United States Sentencing Commission made in its 2011 report on mandatory minimum penalties and again to the Committee this fall.”