August 23, 2018

Poll Shows Americans Overwhelmingly Support Prison, Sentencing Reforms

Majority of Republicans, Democrats & Independents approve of reforms before Congress

Majority of Republicans, Democrats & Independents approve of reforms before Congress
                                                                                                                      
WASHINGTON – A recent poll, conducted by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, once again indicates overwhelming support for reforms to America’s criminal justice system. Questions put to poll respondents correspond to specific provisions currently under debate in Congress, like those contained in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and the FIRST STEP Act.
 
“This country has a clear and concrete desire to make our system of justice fair and workable,” Grassley said. “We are working on a deal to legislate the exact reforms that this poll shows have great support. Americans across the country, the President of the United States and a vast bipartisan coalition in Congress want justice and opportunity for every American. In fact, President Trump has made this a priority, having several meetings over the last few weeks on criminal justice reform. It’s time that the United States Senate deliver on an important presidential priority that enjoys broad public support.”
 
Responses according to the types of reforms:
 
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
-        75 percent of those surveyed support changing the 20 year mandatory minimum for a second drug offense to 15 years while giving judges discretion to increase a sentence;
-        70 percent of those surveyed support changing mandatory life sentences for a third drug offense to 25 years while giving judges discretion to increase a sentence.
 
These mandatory minimum sentencing adjustments are included in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.
 
Retroactive Sentencing Adjustments
-        74 percent (64% of Republicans, 84% of Democrats) of those surveyed support making retroactive adjustments for sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses. (NOTE: This disparity was reduced by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, a bill led by then-Senator and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions).
 
The poll was originally released here and the presentation of poll question results can be found here.
 

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