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Right and left aligned in pursuit of criminal sentencing changes

A recent media article calls them “odd bedfellows.”

Apparently, two United States senators on opposite ends of the political spectrum don’t view themselves similarly, preferring to note instead their common ground in pursuing criminal sentencing reform.

Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-KY) see their close association as reform advocates as an entirely logical collaboration, mutually stressing a common theme.

That theme centers on a few core points, namely these: The United States is chock full of prison inmates, many of them being nonviolent offenders incarcerated on minor drug charges and other crimes; harsh criminal sentences are being disproportionately visited upon non-white offenders; and commonsense reforms can alleviate harshness in the justice system and help reallocate preciously limited funds toward higher goals.

The senators’ comments command obviously relevance for California, given the state’s high prison population and huge number of drug-related arrests.

What the legislators are espousing makes strong sense to many people, even though no follow-up action on their intended legislation is imminently expected in Congress. The so-called REDEEM Act calls for all states to keep minors out of the adult prison population until they reach at least the age of 18. It additionally recommends that many minors as well as older nonviolent offenders be able to expunge their criminal records, an act that is promoted for its ability to help them better secure post-release employment.

Paul calls current sentencing outcomes imposed for many drug crimes a “really bad thing that we’re doing,” with Booker adding that reform “will ensure that our tax dollars are being used in smarter, more productive ways.”

Source: The Washington Post, "Cory Booker, Rand Paul team up on sentencing reform bill," Ed O'Keefe, July 8, 2014

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results