Dozens of former federal prosecutors and senior government officials Tuesday threw their weight behind a a push for a criminal justice reform bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
The letter sent to Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and signed by 67 former federal prosecutors and senior government officials, offers its support for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.
The letter argues the law “is good for federal law enforcement and public safety” and “will more effectively ensure that justice shall be done.”
The bill reduces mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses, while increasing them for certain violent offenses such as domestic violence and terrorism.
It also places an emphasis on prisoner rehabilitation programs and gives government agencies tools to reduce recidivism and help prisoners re-enter society.
The legislation has found support from high-level Democrats and Republicans. President Obama has offered his support for the legislation in the past, and at last week’s State of the Union mentioned criminal justice reform briefly, saying, "I hope we can work together on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform."
The letter says the bill places a new focus on rehabilitation and correction and amends sentencing policies that it says “produced unintended consequences and created imbalance in the scales of justice.”
“In conclusion, we endorse this bill because it makes some of the most needed improvements to the front and back ends of the federal criminal justice system,” the letter says.