SCHUMER, BOOKER CALL FOR PASSAGE OF BIPARTISAN ‘SENTENCING REFORM & CORRECTIONS ACT’; COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATION AIMS TO SCALE BACK OVER-INCARCERATION OF NON-VIOLENT FELONS IN NY, NJ & ACROSS AMERICA; BILL WILL HELP PROVIDE PRISONERS WITH JOB-TRAINING & TOOLS THEY NEED TO ENTER SOCIETY AS PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS
Many Convicted of Low-Level, Non–Violent Drug Sales Are Held in Prison for Disproportionally Long Periods of Time
Schumer & Booker Are Sponsors of New Comprehensive Justice Reform Legislation—Has Support from Conservatives & Liberals; Under Bill, Many in Prison Will Get Drug Treatment & Job Training So They Can Come Out of Prison & Live Productive Lives
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Cory Booker today called on Congress to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, comprehensive legislation aimed at recalibrating prison sentences for certain drug offenders and instead, target violent criminals. The bipartisan legislation also seeks to curb recidivism by helping prisoners successfully re-enter society. The legislation is also sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
“Crafting criminal justice reform in this Congress is like a Rubik’s cube, but this group of Republicans and Democrats worked hard to come up with a fair and balanced package that will make a real difference. This bill would make much needed reforms to sentencing for non-violent offenders, resulting in a much fairer criminal justice system. I’m hopeful that we can continue moving the ball forward in a bipartisan way to make the reforms our system needs,” Schumer said.
“For decades, our broken criminal justice system has held our nation back from realizing its full potential. Today, we take a step forward. Mass incarceration has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, drained our economy, compromised public safety, hurt our children, and disproportionately affected communities of color while devaluing the very idea of justice in America. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is a promising, bipartisan step forward to help right this wrong,” Booker said.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 narrows the scope of mandatory minimum prison sentences to focus on the most serious drug offenders and violent criminals, while broadening and establishing new outlets for individuals with minimal non-felony criminal histories that may trigger mandatory minimum sentences under current law. The bill also reduces certain mandatory minimums, providing judges with greater discretion when determining appropriate sentences, and preserves cooperation incentives to aid law enforcement in tracking down kingpins.
In addition to reducing prison terms for certain offenders through sentencing reform, qualifying inmates can earn reduced sentences through job training and drug treatment programs outlined in the CORRECTIONS Act introduced by Cornyn and Whitehouse. The bill also makes retroactive the Fair Sentencing Act and certain statutory reforms that address inequities in drug sentences.