The corrections system has recently become a hot topic. President Obama visited a federal prison in El Reno, Oklahoma, back in July and made it a point to start talking about reforming prison sentences and fixing the problems within the American corrections system.
The number of incarcerated Americans has skyrocketed in the past 35 years. There were only 25,000 people in federal prison in 1980, but now there are a staggering 200,000.
There is now a bill in House of Representatives that would give judges the ability to override the mandatory minimum sentence for nonviolent drug offenders. Having mandatory minimum sentences have largely been blamed for the overcrowding of the prison system. Lawmakers hope that this bill will relieve some pressure of overcrowding by giving these nonviolent drug offenders a second chance.
This bill would reduce mandatory life sentences for three-time, nonviolent drug offenders to 25 years. A reduced sentence would also be extended to two-time nonviolent drug offenders.
Sentence reductions would apply retroactively, unless the prisoner had been sentenced to more than 13 months of jail time for previous violent felony convictions.
While the bill does give lesser prison sentences to some crimes, it will increase others. Trafficking heroin laced with fentanyl would have a harsher penalty if the bill is approved.
Both sides of the isle seem to be supporting the House bill and there is a similar bill making its way through the Senate. President Obama has also endorsed both the House and Senate bills.
Overcrowding is a huge problem in America that has cost taxpayers far too much. These bills would hopefully eliminate unnecessary prison sentences for people who would be better served by attending other forms of correctional treatment. No matter what happens to federal minimum prison sentences, Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer Jacqui Ford will be ready to defend her clients.