ALEXANDRIA, VA – Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has introduced The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, legislation aimed at reforming our broken sentencing and corrections system and refocusing the country’s criminal-justice policies. The American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) applauds the many commendable facets of this legislation and Chairman Grassley’s focus on revitalizing and modernizing our fragmented sentencing and corrections system.
Chairman Grassley’s (ACUF Lifetime Rating: 84%) Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 boasts a myriad of admirable improvements that have shown proven results in states that have led the charge. Among the most notable provisions, the bill:

  • Provides a greater ability for Federal judges to match the unique aspects of individual crimes to appropriate sentences. 
  • Requires the Justice Department to create a risk assessment program so that offenders receive the right level of programming to reduce recidivism. 
  • Opens the door to second chances by juvenile offenders convicted of non-violent felony offenses by allowing the sealing and/or expungement of their criminal records.
  • Increases the use of compassionate release to move elderly and terminally ill offenders out of prison if they are no longer a public safety threat.
  • Creates a national commission on criminal justice to look at ways to continue reducing crime, maintain fiscal responsibility, and cut recidivism. 

Most importantly, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 helps law enforcement devote more time and money to catching and detaining the most serious criminals, not wasting lives – and taxpayers’ money – by housing low-level nonviolent offenders in expensive federal prisons. States that have adopted a number of these reforms have seen undeniable results: shrinking prison populations, smaller corrections budgets, and crime rates that are falling faster than in the states that have not adopted similar common sense reforms. Chairman Grassley should be commended for his continuous efforts on the fight to reform our criminal justice system and to bring real change to the way our law enforcement operates.

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