A Reason-Rupe poll last week found an incredible 77 percent support eliminating mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent offenders so that judges have the ability to make sentencing decisions on a case-by-case basis. Only 17 percent oppose this change, which is serious fringe territory, yet this where many in Congress still stand.
Most nonviolent mandatory minimum sentencing laws in this country have to do with drugs. There is currently a bipartisan bill in Congress, the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would merely reduce the mandatory minimum for some nonviolent drug offense. The Congressional Budget Office has projected this would save taxpayers billions.
This deficit reducing bill is even more modest than what an overwhelming majority of Americans would support, yet it is still real danger not passing this year. Its no wonder Congress’ approval rating is in the single digits.