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On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to call your senators and ask them to cosponsor the Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment (RESET) Act, S. 1252, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The bill would reclassify several low-level felonies as misdemeanors, by lowering the prison time down to no greater than one year and no more than $1,000 for nonviolent drug offenses.
Conservatives states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas have shown that a smarter approach to crime, one that focuses on reducing recidivism, coincides with savings for taxpayers and enhanced public safety. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice and Congress, through its failure to pass any sentencing and corrections reforms, have fallen behind.
The RESET Act follows the lead of states that have passed reclassification measures. The bill would limit the term of imprisonment and low-level, nonviolent offenses to a maximum of one year and a maximum fine of $1,000. The bill eliminates the 18-to-1 sentencing disparity between the sentences for crack cocaine (cocaine base) and powdered cocaine. Additionally, the bill allows the sentencing court, the Bureau of Prisons, or the offender to seek a reduction for any sentence amended by it.
The RESET Act would also reinvest the budgetary savings into a new fund, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund. Dollars deposited into this fund would be dispersed to the Department of Education for a program to reduce truancy or support students who are victims of crime, the Federal Crime Victim Assistance Fund, and the federal reentry and drug court programs. Half of the dollars saved would be dedicated to reducing the national debt.
By reclassifying low-level, nonviolent drug offenses as misdemeanors, the RESET Act would allow authorities to focus resources on putting away dangerous criminals who are a serious threat to public safety. The bill has the potential to improve our current justice system by saving tax dollars and allowing resources to be used to combat serious crime that threaten the safety of our communities.
For these reasons, I urge you to call your senators and ask them to cosponsor the RESET Act, S. 1252.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks