Meantime, there is some sentencing reform bouncing around Congress. Let's see what happens. This will be a minor, but important and good, step forward. We still need the judges to step up... From the NY Times:
A long-awaited bipartisan proposal to cut mandatory prison sentences for nonviolent offenders and promote more early release from federal prisons is scheduled to be disclosed Thursday by an influential group of senators who hope to build on backing from conservatives, progressives and the White House.
The comprehensive plan, which has the crucial support of Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who heads the Judiciary Committee, is the product of intense and difficult negotiations between Republicans and Democrats who hope to reduce the financial and societal costs of mass incarceration that have hit minority communities particularly hard.
The push has benefited from an unusual convergence of interests in an otherwise polarized Washington and has become a singular issue that usually warring groups have rallied around. Progressive advocacy groups have embraced the possibility of less jail time and better preparation for offenders when they are released; conservatives have championed the potential savings in reducing prison populations and spending on the strained criminal justice system.
According to those familiar with the still-secret agreement, the legislation proposes an extensive set of changes in federal sentencing requirements. Those changes include a reduction in mandatory minimum sentencing to five years from 10 for qualified cases; a reduction in automatic additional penalties for those with prior drug felonies; and more discretion for judges in assessing criminal history.
The legislation would also ban solitary confinement for juveniles in nearly all cases, and allow those sentenced as juveniles to seek a reduction in sentencing after 20 years. Many of the new rules could be applied retroactively to people now serving time.
Not sure the new laws will help the creative drug dealers here:
Investigators seized a sweet stash that looked like it was ready to be stuffed into a piñata earlier this summer, but drug testing proved it was more than nine pounds of methamphetamine, disguised to look like candy.
On Wednesday, Jorge Maldonado, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute the drug in Broward County. The charge carries a maximum punishment of life in federal prison.
Maldonado, of Okeechobee, was arrested July 7 in Lauderhill and admitted he was being paid $2,000 to deliver the methamphetamine to South Florida. Pieces of the drug were individually packaged in brightly-colored candy wrappers labeled with Spanish words.
Investigators have issued warnings in recent months about street drugs that have been disguised as hard candy. They say it is particularly dangerous because children and adults could unwittingly consume the drug.
A Bradenton man, Jesus Castellano, 53, who was arrested on related charges, is scheduled to plead guilty next week in federal court in Tampa. Authorities seized about another 19 pounds of the "meth candy" from his home in July.