WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) sponsored legislation this week to recalibrate prison sentences for certain drug offenders by allowing judges greater sentencing discretion for lower-level drug crimes. The bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123) – introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and sponsored by U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) – also aims to reduce violent crime and curb recidivism by helping prisoners successfully re-enter society.
“A fair and effective criminal justice system is critical to protecting our communities and upholding core American values,” Sen. Moran said. “I support these criminal justice reforms that combine to reduce recidivism, reduce violent crime, and reconsider the judicial treatment of non-violent offenders. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to pass this important legislation.”
The bill would narrow the scope of mandatory minimum prison sentences to focus on the most serious drug offenders and violent criminals, while broadening and establishing new outlets for individuals with minimal non-felony criminal histories that may trigger mandatory minimum sentences under current law. S. 2123 would also reduce certain mandatory minimums, provide judges with greater discretion when determining appropriate sentences, and preserve cooperation incentives to aid law enforcement in tracking down kingpins. Additionally, it would make the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive and certain statutory reforms that address inequities in drug sentences.
Earlier this year, Sen. Moran also sponsored the Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 502), which served as the foundation for several of the provisions found in S. 2123.
Reports from the U.S. Sentencing Commission estimate that these reforms would alleviate prison overcrowding and substantially reduce federal incarceration costs. Sen. Moran joins the American Bar Association, FreedomWorks, NAACP and numerous religious organizations in supporting these criminal justice reforms.