New legislation—with bipartisan support—was recently introduced in Congress to reduce minimum sentences for nonviolent federal drug offenses. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is designed to address the over-incarceration of people convicted of nonviolent crimes. Currently, the United States imprisons more people than any country in the world, and a disproportionate number of these prisoners are black, Latino, low-income, and non-violent.
The goals of the proposed legislation would be to increase fairness in sentencing, motivate prisoners to not commit new crimes once released from prison, and reduce prison costs. Key features of the law include:
This legislation is being backed by some of the most powerful senators—both Republicans and Democrats. In addition, the Obama administration has stated its support for this proposed bill. While this law only affects people facing nonviolent federal charges, South Dakota has also enacted criminal law reforms, including a state law to reduce the terms of probation for nonviolent criminals.
If you have been charged with a federal nonviolent drug charge, this law, if passed, could result in you receiving a shorter sentence. In addition, if you were already convicted of this type of crime, you may be able to have your sentence reduced. Contact your attorney if you are facing sentencing or have been sentenced to potentially take full advantage of this law.
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