WASHINGTON, D.C.: Attorney General Michael Mukasey has made misleading statements predicting dire consequences as a result of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s decision to permit certain prisoners the chance to seek modest reductions of their sentences for crack cocaine offenses. He has said that many crack cocaine offenders are violent and that our communities will suffer due to the sudden influx of crack offenders. Mukasey is expected to make these points again at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on February 7 at 10 a.m.
But what Mukasey is failing to say is that the Sentencing Commission’s decision is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for any federal crack cocaine offender. Nor are most federal crack offenders violent.
“No one gets out of jail immediately because of the guideline changes. Courts considering sentence reduction motions must take public safety into account when weighing their decision,” said Mary Price, vice president and general counsel of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), a national, nonpartisan sentencing reform organization. “Any prisoner eligible to seek a reduction must first convince a court that they deserve one. If the U.S. Attorney believes a prisoner will pose a risk to the community if released early, he can oppose the reduction and explain to the court why the prisoner does not deserve it,” continued Price.
FAMM Press Release