Do you support reducing the sentences of drug offenders?

The U.S. Senate is on the verge of making changes to the time and type of criminals that the country incarcerates, reports the New York Times.

As senators work to meld several proposals into one bill, one important change would be to expand the so-called safety-valve provisions that give judges discretion to sentence low-level drug offenders to less time in prison than the required mandatory minimum term if they meet certain requirements.

Another would allow lower-risk prisoners to participate in recidivism programs to earn up to a 25 percent reduction of their sentence. Lawmakers would also like to create more alternatives for low-level drug offenders. Nearly half of all current federal prisoners are serving sentences for drug crimes.

Today’s Question: Do you support reducing the sentences of drug offenders?

  • kevins

    I support allowing for discretion and professional judgment in determining the best course of action after sentencing…some folks need a longer stint in jail, and some don’t.

  • Khatti

    Yup! We have a lot better use for prison space than filling it with potheads. Now…let’s move on to making some of these things legal.

  • Scott

    Nobody should be in prison for mere possession of any drug whatsoever.

  • Jim G

    Yes. It is not just by accident that the United States imprisons more of its citizens than any country: this includes China and Russia. Our leaders adopted these punitive laws and the majority of us must support them, otherwise we would seeing them being repealed across the country. If we don’t want have a reputation for supporting these oppressive sentencing guidelines we have the power to change laws. The alternative is to continue down the path we are on: one with the most inequitable opportunities, the greatest educational and economic disparity, and a higher cost of an ever increasing and expensive police state.

    • Hunter

      Jim, we incarcerate more per capita than China and Russia and Iran and Syria because they just kill them.

      • a_tribe_called_chris

        Ha ha Hunter. Would you like to back that up with stats?

  • PaulJ

    It sort of makes you wonder what other crimes are too harshly dealt with; it’s certainly not white collar crimes. Of course it is the white collar people that set up the system, just the man keeping us down.

  • Rich in Duluth

    Yes.

    Adults should be able to do whatever they want to do as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Therefore, the use of drugs should be a personal decision based on facts. No one should be in prison for drug use.

    There are over 2-million people in prison and jail as of 2013 . The above article says that half of them are, apparently, incarcerated for drug violations. The money used to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders should, instead, be put to work educating the U.S. population about drug use and helping those who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc., to kick these addictions.

  • John Dilligaf

    Yes, but know that a good number of people incarcerated for low level drug possession were originally charged with other offenses, and plead down to a low level possession charge to take less jail time already – not that we can or should go back and re-prosecute anyone for those things.

  • Markam Abbdi

    No, reducing sentences gives the message to stay a criminal. There are none doing prison time ( 12 months or more) for simply small amounts of drug possession. Facts are that “drug posessssion” sentencing is almost always, from pleading down a charge of distributing/i.e., intent to sell.
    Meth dealers, heroin dealers , crack dealers are violent criminals when you consider their blatant disregard for getting kids hooked, deaths from over doses, and as we know in North Dakota, drugs are used to enslave teens into the sex trafficing trade.
    What we need are harsher sentences for sex trafficing. With 2 million in prison, isn’t it odd that 31% of inmates are illegals? And of that illegal prison population, None are sentenced for drug possession unless it was a huge amount for transporting for the cartels. Illegals make up less than 2% of our population yet almost a third of federal prisoners are_ILLEGALS. Makes one sick to know Obama shortened sentences for 136,000 inmates in the past year and only_ only_ 87 went on to commit murder, 367 reoffended with violent rape and 523 for assault and kidanpping. Add into that with injury and grand theft/burgalry numbers. Sure_ reduice sentences for anyone with possession makes so much sense until your family member doesn’t come home one night. The real question the media doesn’t allow is_ “WHEN will Dayton get our congress to adopt Kate’s law and stop the insane sanctuary cities in MN?”John is correct even if NPR won’t say the truth on these numbers.

  • a_tribe_called_chris

    Of course. It has been long overdue that we change the approach we are using on this failed War on Drugs. It doesn’t work. Prohibition of alcohol failed miserably and so has the effort to eradicate drug use.
    Its time to put the big prison industrial complex, law enforcement lobby, and drug companies to bed and take action. First legalize cannabis for adults. Next, decriminalize the use of hard drugs or better yet legalize them so we can control them better. Push treatment options for those who want it. We need to look at harm reduction strategies as our heavy handed enforcement tactics are failing miserably.