WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today discussed the importance of sentencing reform as an essential part of any responsible criminal justice reform effort.
“I’m glad that my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee are working on criminal justice reform. As they work on a bipartisan basis to negotiate a way forward, I encourage them to include sentencing reform. Those reforms, in combination with prison reform, will not only improve fairness in sentencing of low-level, nonviolent offenders, but also help law enforcement and the American taxpayer. These reforms are also necessary if prison reform is to move through the Senate.
“Such reforms, like those included in my bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, target limited law enforcement resources on violent offenders, major drug traffickers and criminal masterminds, and help to pay for costly, but effective, recidivism reduction programs like those being considered by the House Judiciary Committee. Over time, sentencing reform, coupled with reentry programs, can help to reduce crime, shrink the prison population and cut the deficit.
“I will continue to work with my colleagues, stakeholders and the administration to advance this fiscally sensible approach to improving justice, law enforcement and community safety.”
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, led by Grassley and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), empowers law enforcement and judges to refocus limited resources on violent and career criminals, and ensures that consequences for low-level offenses fit the crime. It reduces mandatory minimum sentences for certain low-level, nonviolent offenses while preserving maximum penalties for dangerous criminals. It incentivizes cooperation with law enforcement investigations by giving judges more discretion to lower sentences if criminals cooperate with police. It also establishes new mandatory penalties to fight the opioid crisis, terrorism and crimes of domestic violence. Additionally, the bill includes recidivism reduction programs to prepare low-risk inmates to return to society.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is based on state-level comprehensive criminal justice reforms that have reduced crime, incarceration and the taxpayer burden in states across the country. It is cosponsored by more than a quarter of the Senate, evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, and enjoys bipartisan support from stakeholders and advocates from across the political spectrum.