Matthew C. Lamb

Document Type



In 2013 Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act to decrease mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes and enlarge the existing safety valve for federal drug offenses.1 The Smarter Sentencing Act reduces the statutory minimum sentence of specific federal drug offenses and permits judges to deviate from mandatory minimum sentences for controlled sub- stance offenses under certain circumstances.2 Similarly in 2013, Senators Leahy and Rand Paul (R-KY), as well as Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY), introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act.3 The Justice Safety Valve Act would give judges more discretion in sentencing by permitting judges to sentence offenders below the mandatory minimum sentence when such sentence would not meet one of the requisite goals of punishment.4 Both acts aim to deter crime through more efficient means while reducing federal prison expenditure and the federal inmate population.

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