This bill — known as the Smarter Sentencing Act — would reduce the mandatory minimums in federal drug sentencing policies, giving federal judges more options when sentencing people convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
The mandatory minimum in the Controlled Substances Act for a conviction related to the distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and manufacture of certain drugs in specified amounts would be lowered from 10 years to five years. If death or serious bodily harm occurs from the drug’s use, the mandatory minimum would be lowered from 20 years to 10 years.
For first convictions, the mandatory minimum sentence would be lowered from five years to two years, and dropped from 20 years to 10 years for a second conviction. If a person had two or more felony drug convictions before their next conviction, the mandatory minimum would be dropped from life imprisonment to 25 years.
Mandatory minimums under the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act would be lowered for "drug mules" from 10 years to five for a first conviction, and from 20 years to 10 for a second conviction. For convictions involving mules of smaller amounts of illegal drugs, the mandatory minimum would be lowered from five years to two for a first offense, and from 10 years to five for a second offense.
Under this bill, the U.S. Sentencing Commission would have to review and change its sentencing guidelines to:
- Ensure that prison populations don’t exceed capacity,
- While considering the fiscal and public safety implications of these changes,
- And reduce racial disparities in Federal sentencing.