Op-ed: Congress Should Follow Utah’s Lead on Sentencing Reform
Salt Lake Tribune
February 23, 2016

“The state of Utah made progress last spring when it passed House Bill 348, a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that is expected to curtail prison growth in the state by 37 percent over the next 20 years. This legislation came in response to the 18 percent growth in Utah’s prison population between 2004 and 2013, despite a drop in Utah’s crime rate over the past two decades. This prison growth has been primarily attributed to sentences handed down for drug possession charges.

“While Utah has taken strides to address the issue of mass incarceration, nationwide criminal justice reform is still a problem that needs to be addressed. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act hopes to address this issue at the federal level. Should the bill pass, it would allow certain federal inmates currently incarcerated for low-level drug-related offenses to have their sentences reduced. Specifically, this bill will reduce the current mandatory minimums for second and third drug offenses, and adjust “safety valve” exceptions so that low-level drug offenders can seek sentences below the set mandatory minimums.”

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