The ACLU has long maintained that any and all mandated, uniform prison sentences derail the fair and balanced application of justice. The travesty of rigidly imposed harsh, life sentences on non-violent drug offenders led to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 which freed judges from having to impose the one-size-fits-all sentences regardless of any mitigating circumstances, even for first time offenders. The Chicago Sun Times editorial points out that the 2010 law did not retroactively address the plight of 8,800 drug offenders already in federal prisons serving life sentences and applauds Senator Dick Durbin’s efforts to enact new, corrective legislation. The editorial quotes Deputy Attorney General James Cole who last week maintained:
There are more low-level, non-violent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offences today. This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.