Senators Craft Prison Reform Bill to Handle Drug Offenders

Senators called for scrapping the federal “three-strikes” life sentence for repeat criminal offenders and to cut minimum sentences for drug crimes, as Democrats and Republicans came together Thursday to propose the broadest overhaul of criminal justice in a generation.

Some current inmates could see their sentences cut by 25 percent if they are deemed at low-risk of reoffending and take part in rehabilitation programs, and the bill would curtail solitary confinement of young offenders and aid compassionate release of elderly prisoners.

“We believe there are people who are incarcerated today for lengthy sentences and great expense, who frankly should not be in those prisons,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat. “We think resources spent on those incarcerations are better spent on good law enforcement in our communities.”