In March, Maryland became the 25th state, along with D.C., to ban sentences of life without parole for juveniles. The state’s Democratic-run legislature overrode Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the legislation. With the vote, hundreds of people will have an opportunity for earlier release.
Mandatory minimums have also perpetuated mass incarceration, and many states are working to reduce or eliminate the use of mandatory minimums in their courts. In short, criminal justice reform has solved one problem while exacerbating another.
Virginia lawmakers hoped to eliminate mandatory minimums as part of sweeping justice reform, but they couldn’t find common ground.
The current sentencing guidelines for ice and mixture methamphetamine are the product of a rash decision and an outdated assumption.
The First Step Act was literally that: a first step. Now that the political winds have changed, its time for the Next Step Act to become law.
In 1991, the United States Sentencing Commission submitted a report to Congress calling for the abolition of mandatory minimums. We’re on the eve of the 30-year anniversary of that report. Yet we’ve made very little progress when it comes to the unfair sentencing practice.
The First Step Act was a bipartisan project several years in the making. The goal of the bipartisan effort was simple but important. It aimed to reduce the number of people in federal prisons while maintaining public safety.