Conyers Praises Commutation Of Sentences, Calls For Sentencing Reform
Today, House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement after the White House announced the commutation of the sentences of 22 individuals - each of whom had been convicted of drug offenses:
“I welcome and applaud the commutations of the sentences of these individuals. Incarcerating people for unwarranted lengths of time serves no constructive purpose. The President has recognized this, as has Attorney General Eric Holder, and I hope the Administration’s Clemency Project will continue to address the multitude of cases in which sentence reductions are appropriate. Of course, the need to engage in such a broad review of sentences exists largely because our sentencing laws and policies, particularly for drug offenses, urgently need to be changed.
“We need to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing and let judges impose appropriate sentences based on the facts and circumstances of each case, and we should eliminate the higher penalties for crack cocaine relative to powder cocaine offenses. I am a cosponsor of H.R. 920, the ‘Smarter Sentencing Act,’ a bipartisan bill which would constitute a good first step at addressing these issues by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses and allowing for sentences below mandatory minimums for certain low-level offenders. This bill is supported by over fifty organizations, including Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Sentencing Project.
“I am heartened that there is a growing, bipartisan recognition of the cyclical problem of overincarceration and I hope this will lead to much-needed sentencing reform during this Congress.”