Drug Policy News
July 23, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
New Publication: Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime
A new report by The Sentencing Project examines the potential for substantial prison population reductions. Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime: A Tale of Three States profiles the experiences of three states – New York, New Jersey, and California – that have reduced their prison populations by about 25% while seeing their crime rates generally decline at a faster pace than the national average.
July 18, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
U.S. Sentencing Commission Unanimously Votes to Reduce Drug Penalties Retroactively
The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted today to apply reduced drug penalties retroactively to 46,000 prisoners serving excessive sentences for federal drug offenses. In April the Commission amended the federal sentencing guidelines to reduce offense levels across drug types. Today’s vote will help to alleviate the unsustainable burden on the federal prison system by allowing federal prisoners serving time for a drug offense to seek a reduction in their current sentence -- potentially reducing average prison terms nearly two years. Unless Congress acts to disapprove the amendment, it will go into effect November 1, 2015.
July 18, 2014 (The New York Times)
New Rule Permits Early Release for Thousands of Drug Offenders
WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of prisoners serving time for federal drug offenses will be eligible to seek early release beginning next year.
The United States Sentencing Commission, which voted in April to reduce the penalties for most drug crimes, voted unanimously on Friday to make that change retroactive. It will apply to nearly 50,000 federal inmates who are serving time under the old rules.
July 7, 2014
The Sentencing Project Urges Retroactivity for Reduced Federal Drug Penalties
The Sentencing Project is urging the U.S. Sentencing Commission to apply reduced penalties for federal drug offenses retroactively.
In April, the Commission unanimously voted to lower penalties across drug types, resulting in a sentence reduction of about 11 months for those individuals who would benefit. The Commission will now consider whether to apply those reductions retroactively to the tens of thousands of people serving prison terms under penalties that are widely seen as excessive. The Department of Justice has urged the Commission to limit the scope of cases in which retroactivity would apply.
June 25, 2014 (The Washington Post)
America’s stupidest criminal laws
Imagine this: two defendants, same age, smoke a joint with some friends one July evening in their respective apartments. Neither has a criminal record. Both get caught; one faces an extra two years in jail.
Why? Because he shared drugs within a certain number of feet from a school that’s been out for a month.
The so-called ‘Drug Free School Zone’ is one of many laws that create extra penalties for already illegal acts with no reasonable tie to the public’s safety or the defendant’s particular circumstances.