April 23, 2018
Law Enforcement Leaders Voice Support for Sentencing Reform & Corrections Act
WASHINGTON – Current and former law enforcement leaders from around the United States today called on Congress and the White House to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. In a letter today to congressional leaders, the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration warned that focusing solely on prison reform and reentry services will not adequately reduce high incarceration rates, which cost taxpayers $80 billion annually. The bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), is cosponsored by more than a quarter of the U.S. Senate.
“True justice demands that criminals be held accountable and that those consequences fit the crime. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act aids law enforcement’s efforts to keep our communities safe while ensuring that punishments fairly reflect the underlying crime. I’m grateful for the support of so many prominent law enforcement leaders as we continue to advance comprehensive criminal justice reform that gives judges more discretion over sentencing for non-violent offenders, targets career and violent criminals and helps to reduce recidivism. The bill also increases penalties for crimes involving fentanyl, a dangerous drug at the center of the current opioid crisis. I welcome continued input from the law enforcement community, the administration and other stakeholders as we continue to advance these comprehensive reforms,” Grassley said.
“The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country on earth. Mandatory minimum sentences were once seen as a strong deterrent—in reality, they have too often been unfair, fiscally irresponsible and a threat to public safety. Any meaningful criminal justice reform legislation must modernize these outdated and ineffective laws that have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. This compromise represents more than five years of work, and I’m glad to have the support of police chiefs, sheriffs, and federal and state prosecutors who understand that our current sentencing laws make us less safe,” Durbin said.
The Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration unites more than 200 past and present law enforcement officials and prosecutors at all levels of government from all 50 states.
In their letter, they urge Congress to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform to allow law enforcement to refocus resources to enhance public safety:
“We ask the Senate, House, and White House to work together to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act in addition to any reentry legislation. The Act would shorten unnecessarily long sentences for lower-level offenders, a solution that has been shown in other parts of the country to successfully reduce crime and incarceration together.”
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act 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 and establishes new mandatory penalties to fight the opioid crisis, terrorism and crimes of domestic violence. It also preserves cooperation incentives to aid law enforcement in taking down criminal enterprises. 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.
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