WASHINGTON, D.C. November 18, 2015 – Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote, The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713) designed to reform federal sentencing laws. This bi-partisan initiative reduces certain mandatory minimums for drug offenses, including the three-strike mandatory life sentence to 25 years and the second-strike mandatory sentence from 20 to 15 years.
The bill provides mechanisms for non-violent drug offenders to be sentenced below mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and provides greater discretion to judges to determine appropriate sentences. The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 also contains important limitations on retroactivity to ensure that serious violent criminals serve the full time for their crimes in federal prison and do not get out of prison early.
“Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID), and Congressman Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) have advanced what we hope will be an ongoing effort to begin to unravel our broken criminal justice system”- says Bernard Kerik, ACCJR spokesman. “I would also urge members on both sides of the aisle to support the default mens rea, legislation (the mental state a person must be in while committing a crime for it to be intentional. It can refer to a general intent to break the law or a specific, premeditated plan to commit a particular offense) introduced earlier this week by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
“Attending Attorney General Lynch’s testimony Tuesday, in between meetings with members of Congress provided me with a real sense that despite differences between Democrats and Republicans, The White House and the Department of Justice, in fundamental policy positions, there is some common ground that will help to make incremental changes to our archaic criminal justice laws. I remain hopeful we can move forward by years end at the latest early 2016.” concluded Kerik.
The American Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform 501 c4 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations established to advocate for common sense, science and statistic based initiatives that will transform our outdated judicial sentencing guidelines by addressing over-criminalization and other aspects of criminal justice badly in need of reform. ACCJR works to create sensible change to state and federal laws and regulations that will improve the social and economic lives of American families.