Federal Sentencing Reform

January 21, 2016

The Equal Justice Initiative recently profiled four bills that impact federal sentencing in the United States. The following blog post will outline those four bills based on information from EJI.

The first bill is the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act. If passed, this bill will allow judges more flexibility to adjust mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. This will reduce the number of people sent to federal prison each year. The bill will also expand the compassionate release program, expand access to substance abuse treatment, and allow sentence reductions for those prisoners who complete vocational, educational, or substance abuse programs.

The second bill is the Smarter Sentencing Act. If passed, this bill will eliminate some mandatory minimum sentencing laws, particularly for drug offenses.

The third bill is the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. If passed, this bill will create new mandatory minimum sentences for people who aid terrorists and perpetrators of domestic violence that result in death. It will also limit solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.

The fourth bill is the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act. If passed, this bill will remove some barriers to re-entry for former prisoners. It will also prohibit employers from asking about criminal history until the final conditional job offer.

For more information about these bills, click here.