October , 2018

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Letters to Editors
From: Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project

In my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, I’m urging Congress to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, a bipartisan reform bill introduced earlier this month. The legislation would take a number of steps forward to reverse harsh penalties that have come at a ruinous cost to families and taxpayers while producing diminishing returns for public safety.

Among the most salutary provisions of the bill are measures to retroactively apply the crack cocaine sentencing reductions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to individuals in federal prison and to expand use of the “safety valve” provision that permits judges to sentence below the mandatory minimum in many drug cases.
My testimony documents a number of policy objectives the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would accomplish, including:

  • Reducing the federal prison population without adverse effects on public safety;
  • Promoting a more rational and effective federal sentencing structure through safety valve provisions that would restore judicial discretion and help correct the sentencing distortions brought about by mandatory minimums;
  • Addressing unjust racial disparities in federal sentencing by making the crack cocaine sentencing reductions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive for individuals sentenced before the law’s enactment;
  • Improving prospects for successful reentry from prison through enhanced programming that includes educational opportunities and employment training; and,
  • Restricting the use of solitary confinement for youth in federal custody and providing protections around juvenile records in certain instances.
You can watch the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing live online now. A full transcript of my testimony is available online here.
Marc Mauer
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