U.S. Sentencing Commission Proposes Drug Guideline Reductions

Via Sentencing Law and Policy, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has issued this press release calling for comments about a suggested two level reduction in offense level for all drug offenses under the federal sentencing guidelines. The proposed reduction would amount to about 11 months per sentence but would not (and could not) affect mandatory minimum sentencing statutes.

The Commission says the amendment would reduce the number of inmates in the federal system: [More...]

Commission analysis indicates that such a change in the guidelines would result in a reduction of approximately 11 months for those drug trafficking offenders who would benefit, resulting in a reduction in the federal prison population of approximately 6,550 inmates by the fifth year after the change.

The reason for the proposed drop is:

“The Commission’s proposal reflects its priority of reducing costs of incarceration and overcapacity of prisons, without endangering public safety.

Studies have shown the decrease is unlikely to affect recidivism rates.

As always, however, the solution to the problem of our unduly harsh drug laws lies with Congress. It needs to repeal mandatory minimums.

“The real solution rests with Congress, and we continue to support efforts there to reduce mandatory minimum penalties, consistent with our recent report finding that mandatory minimum penalties are often too severe and sweep too broadly in the drug context, often capturing lower-level players.”...
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    Seems (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 06:30:12 AM EST
    to me that prisons are more like warehouses, doing little to prevent repeat crime, just delaying.

    If Anything... (none / 0) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:40:51 PM EST
    ...between learning new criminal trades and stigma of being incarcerated once released, prisons could be actually increasing crime, especially for petty non-sense, like drugs.

    There is a comedian that has a pretty good bit about the costs of prison that ends with "Wouldn't it just bee cheaper to buy a new car stereo"

    Yes, compared to locking someone up for even a month, the cost is far cheaper.  Ditto for education, we spend more to keep non-violent folks locked up than we spend on most college educations.

    If we sent them to college instead, everyone would win but the neanderthals who always want their pound of flesh.  But file that under 'Never going to happen'.


    Brits: Drug War has accomplished nothing (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:11:36 PM EST
    nothing they can measure, that is, which means, nothing that they can prove, or, in the language of Neverland:
    There are challenges in other areas, however, particularly around developing a suitable counterfactual, or measuring impact on actual behaviour. For example, establishing the conditions for a robust counterfactual for enforcement is difficult and as a result, little robust evidence of impact is available either nationally or internationally.