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Poll Shows Americans Overwhelmingly Support Criminal Justice Reforms like those in Grassley-Durbin Legislation

WASHINGTON – A recent poll, commissioned by the Justice Action Network and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, indicates overwhelming support for reforms to America’s criminal justice system. Many questions put to poll respondents align closely with the proposed reforms in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
“This poll is yet another indication that the American people have an appetite for better, smarter government, especially when it comes to our criminal justice system,” Grassley said. “While the political landscape in Washington has changed over the last two years, the same problems persist within our current sentencing regime and prison programs. Our bipartisan bill takes the right steps to address many of these problems by being tough on crime while ensuring the punishments fit the crime.”
Important highlights from the poll:
-          87 percent of those polled favor replacing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders;
-          76 percent of those polled think the criminal justice system needs significant improvements;
-          73 percent of those polled say the U.S. spends too much money on prisons, money that could be used for treatment, rehabilitation, law enforcement and victim services;
-          91 percent of those polled say prison programs should be reviewed to ensure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.
Poll results can be found here and a memo from the polling company can be found here.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 was introduced last October to recalibrate prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, target violent and career criminals and save taxpayer dollars. The legislation permits more judicial discretion at sentencing for offenders with minimal criminal histories and helps inmates successfully reenter society, while tightening penalties for violent criminals and preserving key prosecutorial tools for law enforcement. In addition to Senators Grassley and Durbin, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn).
A bill summary can be found here, a section-by-section outline of the bill can be found here and full legislative text of the bill can be found here.