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Former AGs, DEA officials oppose sentencing reform

Nearly 30 former top law enforcement officials and attorneys urged Senate leaders to defeat a bill aimed at reforming drug sentencing laws in a letter released Monday.

In a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), 29 former high-ranking officials, including two U.S. attorneys general and three Drug Enforcement Agency administrators, said “our current sentencing regimen strikes the right balance between congressional direction in the establishment of sentencing levels, due regard for appropriate judicial direction, and the preservation of public safety.”

The letter comes in response to a push by some in the Senate to ease punishments for those convicted of drug-related offenses.

A bipartisan group of senators including Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) support the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would scale back federal sentencing guidelines for drug crimes.

“Mandatory minimums are costly, unfair and do not make our country safer,” Leahy and Paul wrote in a joint op-ed in USA Today last year. “They have played a major role in overcrowding our prisons and have confined us to an unsustainable and irresponsible economic path.”

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