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Friday, August 1, 2014

Bipartisan REDEEM Act to Help Low-Level Drug Offenders Re-Enter Society

The REDEEM Act is a bipartisan bill designed to make it easier for low-level drug offenders to re-enter society, according to MSNBC. The bill follows in the wake of the U.S. Sentencing Commission voting to reduce terms for low-level drug traffickers who are already incarcerated.

In April, the Sentencing Commission voted to reduce the base offense for those charged with being in possession of various amounts of drugs. The vote not only affects those yet to be charged, but also those already incarcerated. The REDEEM Act could not come at a better time when you consider that there are more than 46,000 drug offenders who are eligible for early release from prison by more than two years.

All cases will have to go before a judge to be considered for early release and no one will be eligible for release before Nov. 1, 2015. However, Congress has the power to put a stop to the plan by Nov. 1, 2014.

The REDEEM Act is sponsored by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a Republican. The act, if passed, would limit the length of time a person must answer employer questions about past convictions, greatly increasing one’s ability to find a job out of prison, according to the article. Another element of the bill focuses on federal welfare. Currently, there is ban on federal welfare benefits for people convicted of non-violent drug violations, under the bill the ban would be repealed for those who complete substance abuse treatment.

Please take a moment to watch a short video of Senators Booker and Paul discussing the REDEEM Act:

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

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