As many of you know, I have been trying for years to reform mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders. The goal is to give judges the power to craft appropriate sentences while freeing up dollars for roads, education and drug treatment – huge dollars are currently spent jailing nonviolent addicts, with little if any deterrent effect. Since mandatory minimums were passed in 1992, our drug rate per capita has gone up 710%. Check out this chart:

February 20 Criminal Justice Chart

Our current plan does not seem to be working, and we heard not long ago that Corrections wants $500 million to build more prison space to house these folks. I am sponsoring HB99, a bipartisan bill that would allow judges to deviate from mandatory minimums where required to avoid manifest injustice. It will be heard at 1:30 pm on Monday February 25 in the House Judiciary Committee – public testimony is welcome.