Advocates who’ve been trying to overhaul the federal criminal justice system say time is running out, reports NPR. The issue has brought together an unusual group called the Coalition for Public Safety, which NPR calls a “strange bedfellows partnership of libertarians and evangelical conservatives who align with liberals on the need to “make sure that the punishment fits the crime and that we are scaling our resources appropriately towards the most serious offenders,” in the words of director Christine Leonard.
Leonard says, “These next five weeks, I think, are really critical for us to see whether or not Washington is really ready to achieve meaningful reforms in the federal sentencing and prison system.” Negotiators in the U.S. Senate have been working for weeks to reach a deal that would offer less risky inmates credits to get out of prison early. It may also put new limits on the number of people charged as drug leaders or kingpins, charges that carry long sentences. Not everyone is convinced about the need for change. A few longtime prosecutors say the current system is not broken, and they worry about a possible rise in crime if the wrong offenders get released.