Well, finally some good news on the federal legislative front. It appears that federal prison and sentencing reform is finally gaining some momentum in the United States Senate. John Webster and National Prison & Sentencing Consultants (NPSC) is happy to share this good news. The long awaited Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 is on the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY. As many know, any bill introduced in the Senate is first referred to a Senate Committee for consideration. Many bills unfortunately do not even get Committee hearings. The SRCA is in fact getting a Committee hearing. For many that do not know, this bill IF PASSED and signed into law will have the following provisions (at least as now written):
- The bill reduces the enhanced penalties for certain non-violent repeat drug offenders and eliminates the three-strike mandatory life provision. It also, for the first time, allows those enhanced penalties to be applied to offenders with prior convictions for serious violent and serious drug felonies.
- Increases judicial discretion for sentencing of certain nonviolent offenders. The bill expands the existing safety valve to offenders with broader criminal histories but excludes defendants with prior felonies and violent or drug trafficking offenses unless a court finds those prior offenses substantially overstate the defendant’s criminal history and danger of recidivism.
- The bill also creates a second safety valve that gives judges discretion to sentence certain low-level offenders below the 10-year mandatory minimum.
- Reforms enhanced mandatory minimums & sentences for firearm offenses. The bill clarifies that the enhanced mandatory minimum sentence for using a firearm during a crime of violence or drug crime is limited to offenders who have previously been convicted and served a sentence for such an offense. Additionally, the bill provides judges with further discretion to sentence individuals who possess a firearm illegally, provided that the firearm was not brandished or discharged in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking.
As currently written many of these provisions of this bill, if passed into law, will apply retroactively allowing many federal inmates to be re-sentenced and hopefully allow for lower sentences. Of course, if you have any questions or may need or assistance, please contact National Prison & Sentencing Consultants at email@example.com or at 615-696-6153.