The Senate Judiciary Committee this fall will begin its review of legislation that would allow federal judges to impose prison sentences shorter than the mandatory minimums.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the committee and a co-author of the Justice Safety Valve Act, announced Monday he intends to hold a hearing in September to explore the consequences of federal mandatory-minimum sentences, and to look at reforms "to combat injustice in sentencing and the waste of taxpayer dollars."
The federal government "can no longer afford to continue on the course of ever-increasing prison costs," Leahy said in a prepared statement. "As of last week, the federal prison population was over 219,000, with almost half of those men and women imprisoned on drug charges. This year, the Bureau of Prisons budget request was just below $7 billion."