SJC To Begin Consideration Of Legislation To Address The Nation’s Burgeoning Prison Population

WASHINGTON (Friday, November 8, 2013) –The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin consideration next week of legislation to confront the unsustainable growth of the federal prison population, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday.

“After years of debate, I am encouraged that we have bipartisan agreement that we must act; that we must reevaluate how many people we send to prison and for how long. Public safety demands it. Fiscal responsibility demands it. Justice demands it.”  Leahy said.  “We have in the Judiciary Committee an historic opportunity to improve, in a comprehensive way, our nation’s sentencing laws.  I urge all members of the Committee who want to join this effort to come together toward a comprehensive solution to confront the unsustainable costs of our federal prisons.”

Leahy is the coauthor of bipartisan legislation with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, that would expand the so-called “safety valve” that allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum when, based on the individual circumstances of a case,  it is counterproductive and unnecessary to protect public safety.  He is also a cosponsor of the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill authored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), which would lower certain drug mandatory sentences, modestly expand the existing federal “safety valve” and promote sentencing consistent with the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act.  Those bills, along with the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act of 2013 authored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), are listed on the Committee’s agenda for the upcoming executive business meeting.

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          An Executive Business Meeting has been scheduled by the Committee on the Judiciary for Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:00 a.m., in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

          By order of the Chairman.



Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226
November 14, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

I. Nominations

Carolyn B. McHugh, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit


Pamela L. Reeves, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee


Vince Girdhari Chhabria, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California


James Maxwell Moody, Jr., to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas


Peter Joseph Kadzik, to be an Assistant Attorney General



II. Bills


S.619, Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 (Leahy, Paul)


S.1410, Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013 (Durbin, Lee, Leahy)


S.1675, Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act of 2013 (Whitehouse)


S.975, Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act (Klobuchar, Cornyn)


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