Lawmakers to introduce drug sentencing legislation
A bipartisan group of awmakers plans to introduce legislation in the Senate on Thursday that will give federal judges more discretion on sentencing those convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
The Smarter Sentencing Act, backed by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), takes aim at the skyrocketing population of the federal prison system.
Addressing rising costs and overcrowding are top priorities for the Justice Department this year.
Late last year, DOJ Inspector General said the prison population had decreased for the first time since 1980, dropping to 219,298 inmates at the end of fiscal year 2013 to 214,149 inmates at the end of fiscal year 2014. But the decrease, he said, has yet to yield a decrease in department costs with rising health care costs and an aging prison population that needs more care.