Wyden Introduces Bipartisan Legislation that would Lower Mandatory Drug Sentences

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said today he has introduced bipartisan legislation that would modernize federal drug sentencing polices by lowering certain mandatory drug sentences.

“In too many cases, mandatory minimum sentences have imprisoned people for far longer than is just,” Wyden said. “This legislation takes a critical step toward dismantling the enormous costs of over incarceration for nonviolent drug crimes for both communities and taxpayers, when those resources would be put to better use through effective strategies like crime prevention and prisoner reentry programs.”

The Smarter Sentencing Act gives federal judges the authority to conduct individualized reviews to determine the appropriate sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenses. The central remaining sentencing reform in the legislation would reduce mandatory minimum penalties for certain nonviolent drug offenses. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that implementation of this provision would save taxpayers approximately $3 billion over ten years

The Smarter Sentencing Act was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Mike Lee, R-Utah. Along with Wyden, the bill is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Angus King, I-Maine, and Tim Kaine, D-Va.

A web version of this release is available here.