Delaware will lower minimum mandatory jail terms for some drug crimes with the aim of creating more prison space for violent offenders, the Wilmington News Journal reports. The measure passed the General Assembly yesterday and will be signed by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.
The bill is a compromise among the Attorney General’s Office, the state’s Sentencing Accountability Commission and Stand Up for What’s Right and Just, a citizens group dedicated to criminal justice reform.
Attorney General M. Jane Brady said the law will increase public confidence that violent criminals will do jail time. “The people want the safe streets. They want to be able to go to the convenience store in safety,” Brady said. “I think they will see that we are doing that with this bill.”
Among the bill’s most controversial provisions was language that cuts the minimum mandatory sentence for cocaine trafficking from three years to two years, and increases the amount of the drug needed to trigger the sentence from 5 grams to 10 grams.