There has been much concern as of late about the fairness of federal drug sentencing laws in Nebraska and across the rest of the country. Many feel that the sentencing laws are too harsh and that the requirement of minimum sentences should be done away with.
There is debate about whether mandatory sentencing minimums have contributed to the overcrowding in prisons. The Bureau of Prisons is currently operating at almost 140 percent capacity, with over 50 percent of those incarcerated serving sentences for drug crimes. The United States is presently responsible for incarcerating almost 25 percent of the world’s prison population, more than any other country.
In an effort to remedy these problems, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted in April to lower federal prison sentencing guidelines for those who are convicted of drug trafficking crimes. The decision was then submitted to Congress. If Congress does not disapprove of the new guidelines, they could take effect as soon as November 1 of this year.
In addition to the amendment applying to all future drug crime sentencing, the U.S. Sentencing Commission also recently voted to apply it retroactively. This means those who are already serving jail time for a drug crime could see their sentence reduced, something that could affect tens of thousands of people who are currently imprisoned.
If you or a loved one are currently serving time for a drug crime, you may wish to consult with an attorney experienced in criminal law about filing a petition to reduce the sentence in accordance with the new law. Doing so may enable you to serve less time and return back to your normal life.
Source: Huffington Post, “United States Sentencing Commission Votes to Retroactively Apply Drug Sentencing Reductions to Tens of Thousands of People,“ Anthony Papa, July 18, 2014