A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to give judges more discretion in sentencing non-violent drug offenders.
The Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015, led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), aims to reduce the size of the prison population, which has increased by more than 500 percent since the 1980s.
The bill does not eliminate mandatory sentencing or decrease any maximum penalties. It instead, the bill expands the federal “safety value,” which allows judges to lower sentences for certain non-violent drug offenders below existing mandatory minimums.
Lee said while the government has done a good job of punishing and deterring crime in this country, the federal prison system has become unwieldy.