Joining a Democratic colleague, Republican Congressman Thomas Massie Kentucky is introducing a bipartisan bill to give federal judges more flexibility when issuing mandatory minimum sentences.
The legislation is parallel to the Senate version proposed by fellow Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Both measures expand the so-called “safety valve” provision that would provides the courts with more latitude, and tailor individual cases.
Massies is partnering with Democratic Congressman Robert Scott of Virginia, and like Paul, the freshman lawmaker echoes conservative arguments that mandatory minimums represent federal overreach.
“The one size fits all approach of federally mandated minimums does not give local judges the latitude they need to ensure that punishments fit the crimes,” Massie said in a news release. “As a result, nonviolent offenders are sometimes given excessive sentences. Furthermore, public safety can be compromised because violent offenders are released from our nation’s overcrowded prisons to make room for nonviolent offenders.”
Massie’s office argued the legislation will help reduce the bloated federal prison population and says the Federal Bureau of Prisons represents over 25 percent of the Department of Justice annual budget, hampering resources that could be used by local law enforcement and other community safety programs.