Monday, July 27, 2015

Obama Administration Rejects Drug Court Plan In Criminal Justice Bill

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration objects to key provisions in a bipartisan criminal justice bill in the House that has picked up support from both the tough-on-crime end of the Republican Party and advocates of overhauling federal prison sentencing guidelines, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The bill’s sponsors say the Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective Justice Reinvestment Act of 2015 — or SAFE Act — takes the best ideas from state criminal justice efforts in recent years and applies them to the federal system, but Obama administration officials have told supporters of the bill they don’t like several of its provisions, including a key one that would essentially create a federal version of the drug court programs an increasing number of states use to divert low-level, first-time drug offenders away from prison and into probation.

It’s early in the legislative process for the SAFE Act, and with the big focus on bipartisan momentum around criminal justice at the moment, no one is willing to go on the record with the rift over the bill. But several people familiar with both administration thinking and the plans of the bill’s supporters told BuzzFeed News that members of Obama’s team have told the SAFE Act’s backers they aren’t happy with the bill.


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