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Showing posts from May, 2014

Sentencing Reform, Slowly but Surely: Federal Drug Sentencing Meets New Amendments & Reductions

On April 10th the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to amend and reduce the federal drug sentencing guidelines. The Commission estimates that approximately 70% of federal drug trafficking defendants would qualify for the change, which would result in sentences being reduced by an average of 11 months. The articulated goal of these new guidelines is to reduce the large prison population in the United States while at the same time releasing individuals who pose no safety risk to society. The amendment drew more than 20,000 letters during a public comment period, including letters from members of Congress, judges, advocacy organizations, and individuals. “This modest reduction in drug penalties is an important step toward reducing the problem of prison overcrowding at the federal level in a proportionate and fair manner,” said Judge Patti B. Saris, chair of the Commission. “Reducing the federal prison population has become urgent, with that population almost three tim…