Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Earl Blumenauer asked President Obama to review the cases of Oregonians serving mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses in federal prison.
Their letter urged the president to commute the sentences of those who are eligible when appropriate to a shortened sentence or time-served.
“We write to express our deep concern for the many Oregonians who are currently serving mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses in federal prison that are disproportionate to the crimes that they committed,” the three Oregon lawmakers wrote. “In many cases, mandatory minimum sentences have imprisoned people for far longer than is just.”
Wyden, Merkley and Blumenauer noted that the cost of mandatory minimum sentences strips judges of their ability to analyze the facts of a case to devise appropriate sentences.
“This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people serving sentences that are disproportionate to the crimes that they committed,” they wrote. “As more and more people are incarcerated under mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses, the enormous costs of over incarceration continue to take resources away from effective strategies such as crime prevention and prisoner reentry programs.”