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News Scan

Another Try at Federal Sentencing Reform:  In the wake of new national crime statistics for 2016 showing violent crime increases in 33 states and the highest rates of homicide and rape the U.S. has seen in eight years, the same bi-partisan coalition that introduced the "Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015" has reintroduced the sentence reduction bill in the Senate.  Fox News reports that Senators Chuck Grassley, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Mike Lee believe that the measure, which would make thousands of drug dealers eligible for early release and reduce the sentences for new convictions, would "improve public safety and the rule of law by ensuring that penalties match their crime."  Our analysis of the bill, which died in the Senate last year, is here.

Five Killed in Weekend Chicago Shootings:  Over the past weekend in Chicago, 5 people were murdered and 30 others were shot, including a 13-year-old boy.  The Chicago Sun Times reports that this is the seventh straight month of reduced shootings and murders compared to last year.  So far in 2017, murders are down by 7%, with shootings down 16%.  In a related story, Politifact Illinois reports that claims by the Trump Administration that Illinois has the toughest gun laws in the country are untrue.  The  Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence which advocates for stricter gun laws, while noting that the state could impose even stricter gun laws, found that Illinois' gun laws still are considered among the most restrictive when compared with other states and gave Illinois a B+ and ranks it No. 8 in the nation on its smart gun report card.  The group lauds Illinois for, among several rules, requiring firearm owners to obtain a Firearm Owners' ID card that includes a background check and a waiting period on firearm purchases.  From this Politifact concluded that the administration's claim deserved its "pants on fire" rating.


Are Sens. Grassley, et al going to address the recidivism rates of those fortunate folks who got their sentences commuted by President Obama? Because I know of a number of them who have, shockingly, re-offended.

I'm in the dark as to how you can say they re-offended. As we all know, having been lectured to this effect a zillion times, they were all low level, non violent unfortunates swept up in a racist system. Given the much-ballyhooed second chance, they'll win the Nobel Prize for Medicine, or something.

Ha! I know you're kidding Bill, but I found it fascinating that several of these "non-violent" offenders had 924c convictions. Even more amazing was President Obama saying he thought we should get guns off the streets, but then commuting the sentences of gun-toters. What a world.

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