Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Monday expressed support for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s call to reform drug sentencing policies.
“I am encouraged that the President and Attorney General agree with me that mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders promote injustice and do not serve public safety,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to working with them to advance my bipartisan legislation, the Justice Safety Valve Act, to permanently restore justice and preserve judicial discretion in federal cases. I introduced this legislation in March with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy as a legislative fix to the very problem Attorney General Holder discussed today.
“The Administration’s involvement in this bipartisan issue is a welcome development. Now the hard work begins to change the law to permanently address this injustice.”
Earlier this year, Paul and Leahy introduced legislation that would give judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes subject to mandatory minimums.
“As a former prosecutor, I understand that criminals must be held accountable, and that long sentences are sometimes necessary to keep violent criminals off the street,” Leahy said in a statement. “I have come to believe, however, that our reliance on mandatory minimums has been a great mistake, and I am encouraged that Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice have joined the growing chorus from across the political spectrum that question this one-size-fits-all approach. It does not make us safer.”