Bill Could Cut Nonviolent Drug Offenders’ Sentences


Nonviolent drug offenders could be eligible for shorter prison sentences under legislation approved by a Senate panel today, as Congress took initial steps to change the nation's criminal justice system. On a vote of 15 to 5, the Judiciary Committee approved a bill to give judges discretion to give lesser sentences than federal mandatory minimums in some cases. The measure would eliminate mandatory life sentences for three-time, nonviolent drug offenders, reducing minimum sentences for those offenders to 25 years. It also would create programs to help prisoners successfully re-enter society.

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