Over the last 30 years the U.S. prison population has increased tenfold and this fact is of great concern to Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah. Lee believes the mandatory minimum sentencing has had a great deal to do with this and he says the ballooning prison population has brought a huge financial burden.
Lee believes that financial burden has also come with human costs.
“You have communities and families that are missing sons, and fathers, and uncles, and brothers, and nephews,” Lee says, “who could be contributing in meaningful ways to their communities and to their family members.
“We think that there are many offenses for which excessive punishment is a real risk and in some cases a real reality.”
On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/324/2015_03_02_324_30846_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s For the People program</a>, Lee said he is the co-sponsor of the Smarter Sentencing Act along with Democratic Senator Dick Durban which would modernize and update our present sentencing system to address this issue.
He said the federal system has relied too much on mandatory minimum penalties and in many cases those penalties are excessive when compared to penalties imposed by state laws for the same offense. Lee said it is important to bring those in harmony and also important to make sure the punishment is appropriate for the offense that has occurred.