Bass Back Release of Drug Offenders
Despite Objections from National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys
July 31, 2014
In a press release issued by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Culver City) she announced her support of the United States Sentencing Commission vote to authorize judges to reduce drug sentences for over 46,000 prisoners and release them beginning November 2015.
The Sentencing Commission change takes effect on Nov. 1 unless Congress votes to overrule it. Prisoners would not be eligible for early release until a year from then.
The ruling was despite the input of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, which represents federal prosecutors, opposed the move. They called it "a grave danger to public safety." The group predicted "a devastating impact on higher crime."
Bass said in her press release, "I commend the United States Sentencing Commission's decision today that will reduce the sentences of over 46,000 drug offenders in the federal prison system. This decision will mean that these offenders could have their sentences reduced by an average of 25 months. This decision builds on the commission's decision in April that will reduce sentences going forward for people convicted in drug offenses.
"President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are using everything in their power to bring much needed reform to our country's bloated prison system. Today, there are over 215,000 people in our federal prison system, and the single largest driver in the increase in the federal prison population since 1998 is longer sentences for drug offenders.
"The commission's decision will simply save taxpayer money, and policy makers need to use this savings to prevent people from turning to using and dealing drugs and to treat people who are addicted to drugs.
"But Congress now has much work to do. Not only should members of Congress uphold the commission's decision, but we must absolutely address comprehensive reforms to our criminal justice system to address disparities, collateral consequences, and costs. In addition, we need to provide resources to communities to help people reintegrate into their communities, and we need to do everything we can to reduce recidivism by rolling back antiquated laws that prevent people who will be released from being able to work in their communities. Now that these Americans have served their time they need to have every resources (sic) available to be a productive and successful member of their communities. Although the President and Attorney General took an important step, only Congress has the ability to improve our criminal justice system."
Calls to the Congresswoman's office in Washington D.C. were not returned.