U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is sponsoring a bill that he says would move towards smarter, not harsher, penalties for drug crimes. Durbin’s “Smarter Sentencing Act” would reduce certain mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, as well as allow judges leeway to ignore those minimums. Durbin says those policies have succeeded only in making federal prisons crowded.
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“Being tough on crime doesn’t simply mean voting reflexively for ever-harsher punishments, no matter what the cost or consequences,” Durbin said. “It means being tough on a failed criminal justice policy and investing hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars on programs that actually work.” The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, and Durbin hopes it will be put up for a floor vote soon. It has several Republican co-sponsors.