It is no secret the prisons are too full, and that many of those behind bars could better benefit from rehabilitation or other program aimed at putting an end to criminal activity. The problem is that some of the sentencing laws are so strict, that even the most non-violent offender can end up serving time. The debate on how to fix this problem has been ongoing for quite some time, and it seems that there may be some relief around the corner.

President Obama has backed legislation that would reduce or eliminate sentences for non-violent drug offenders. US News reports on the issue, and outlines three ways a non-violent drug offender may benefit from this new law if it passes:

  • An inmate’s sentence might be shortened by 10 days, for every 30 days the inmate spends in a rehabilitation program.
  • The end portion of a sentence would be eligible for service outside of the confines of a prison, by allowing an inmate to serve the ending part of their term in a community based program.
  • The ultimate outcome for some would be that their sentences are reduced by as much as 25% of the original term.

There are eligibility requirements for these benefits, the biggest being the requirement that the inmate allow an assessment of their tendency to commit crimes (particularly violent crimes) in the future. For those inmates who have results showing a low propensity to become a repeat offender, rehabilitation programs in lieu of jail time may be offered. Of course there will also be requirements for those that participate in the program, and a misstep could mean no reduction in sentence. For years there has been a need to reform the prison system, and make sure that the punishment fits the crime. It has been argued that it is senseless to lock up a non-violent, youthful offender instead of offering that person a chance to change. Just how this issue will finally play out before election time remains to be seen, but you can be sure our office will be watching. We stay on top of the latest news, and legal rules and regulations, so we can offer competent advice.


For more information about criminal defense, call our office today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.