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September 15, 2014

Congressional Budget Office reports Smarter Sentencing Act would save federal taxpayers $4.36 billion

As reported in this new piece from The Hill, which is headlined "CBO: Drug sentencing reform saves $4B," this is now an official congressional estimate of just how much federal taxpayer monies would be saved if the Smarter Sentencing Act were to become law. Here are the basics:

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced that their bill to reform nonviolent drug sentencing would reduce prison costs by more than $4 billion. “Making smart reforms to our drug sentencing laws will save the taxpayers billions of dollars,” Lee said on Monday.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that Durbin and Lee’s bill would save the federal government $4.36 billion in prison costs by giving federal judges more discretion in sentencing those convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

“Today’s CBO report proves that not only are mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses often unfair, they are also fiscally irresponsible,” Durbin said. “By making the incremental, targeted changes that Senator Lee and I have proposed in our Smarter Sentencing Act, we can save taxpayers billions without jeopardizing public safety.”

This press release from Senator Mike Lee's office provides more context and details about potential SSA savings and the broad support the bill has already garnered:

CBO is the second government agency to conclude that the Durbin-Lee bill would produce billions of dollars in savings. The Department of Justice, which administers our federal prison system, has estimated that the bill would avoid prison costs of nearly $7.4 billion in 10 years and $24 billion in 20 years.

With federal prison populations skyrocketing and approximately half of the nation’s federal inmates serving sentences for drug offenses, the Smarter Sentencing Act would give federal judges more discretion in sentencing those convicted of non-violent drug offenses....

The bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act is supported by faith leaders from the National Association of Evangelicals to the United Methodist Church. It is supported by groups and individuals including Heritage Action, Justice Fellowship of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Major Cities Chiefs Association, the ACLU, Grover Norquist, International Union of Police Associations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, more than 100 former prosecutors and judges, the NAACP, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Sentencing Project, American Conservative Union, Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the Council of Prison Locals, Ralph Reed, Open Society Policy Center, American Correctional Association, the American Bar Association, National Black Prosecutors Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the Constitution Project.

September 15, 2014 at 02:21 PM | Permalink


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Not one organization represents victim interests. All represent tax sucking, worthless parasites that thrive during high rates of crime.

Save $5 billion, lose $1 Trillion in damages as the customers of the above appalling organizations devastate people and property. You could lose all savings in health costs of victims injury, let alone, real estate prices, loss of trust and abstention from investment. How does one measure an investment not made in a neighborhood for fear of police prosecution if one mounts an armed defense of the property against the savages protected by these horrible people in the public sector, heartless, horrible, sadists placing a few lousy make work jobs above the torment of victims and their families.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 15, 2014 11:11:34 PM

Although I'm not going to be as eloquent as SC above, I have a hard time believing CCA has genuine intent behind a plan to reduce recidivism. Companies like CCA, along with Prison Guard Unions, are the largest backers of bills that increase the use of Mandatory Minimums and California's infamous "Three Strikes" law. Anything that puts citizens away for longer periods of time are good for business.

Seeing a story like this makes me think of Phillip Morris sponsoring anti-smoking advertisements. Total bull.

Posted by: Eric | Sep 16, 2014 9:30:41 AM

Why did my last comment post in this article and not the CCA recidivism one? Not even close.

Posted by: Eric | Sep 16, 2014 9:32:26 AM

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