As a mother, she never expected that she would not be able to watch her son grow old and raise a family of his own. Eisibe’s son, Rufus, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after police found a baggie with residue of crack cocaine. Because of a mandatory sentencing law, he will never come home.
Rufus isn’t the only one. Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by state and federal mandatory sentencing laws, which give judges no choice but to impose a sentence that is often far too severe for the offense.
Extreme sentencing laws have pushed the number of people in American jails and prisons to over 2.3 million — with more than half imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. These unnecessarily long sentences have led to bloated, overcrowded prisons and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars that could be better invested in our communities.
Right now, we have a unique opportunity to rein in mass incarceration for people in the federal system. Congress members on both sides of the aisle have joined together in support of the Smarter Sentencing Act — a bill that could roll back some extreme federal mandatory minimum sentences.
Only a few days ago, Attorney General Eric Holder came out strongly urging Congress to pass this bill to help end excessive punishments for low-level drug crimes. With unanimous support from the U.S. Sentencing Commission and strong bipartisan support, this bill can move forward quickly if we tell our congress members to act now.