Harsh and Smart Are Not Always the Same, Durbin Says

Harsh and Smart Are Not Always the Same, Durbin Says

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.

“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.


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