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Kentucky Prison & Criminal Justice News & Events Current news items and information on events related to the Kentucky prison and criminal justice system.

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Old 10-18-2018, 09:50 AM
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So sometime I wrote to my congressman about prison reform in KY and he finally sent me a response. I was totally caught off guard because I had forgotten that I had written him. I haven't checked out the house bill he mentioned but I will and it its something that seems fair I will attempt to apply pressure on all of the senate and congress persons involved. I am including a copy of his response. I am interested in what you all think.

Dear Mrs. Finley,

Thank you for contacting me regarding prison reform. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

Reforming our nation's prison system is closely tied with reforming our criminal justice system. For too long, both elected officials and unelected federal bureaucrats have sought to appear tough on crime by criminalizing minor offenses at the federal level and enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences that do not fit the crime. Unjustifiably harsh sentences ruin lives, tear apart families, and waste taxpayer dollars through the high cost of incarceration.

That is why I introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act (S. 619), a bipartisan bill that would allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing for federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary. The bill restores judicial oversight, ensuring that the punishment fits the crime. Judges would be required to provide notice to all parties and to state in writing the reasons justifying the alternative sentence. By giving judges greater flexibility, they will not be forced to administer needlessly long sentences for certain offenders, which is a significant factor in the ever-increasing federal prison population and the spiraling costs that steer more and more of the justice budget toward keeping people in prison, rather than investing in programs that keep our communities safe.

Mandatory minimum laws reflect a one-size-fits-all approach that undermines the constitutional separation of powers and violates the bedrock principles that people should be treated as individuals and receive sentences that fit the crime for which they are convicted. Although I do not support the use of illegal drugs, I do not believe that the federal government should dictate harsh sentences for most nonviolent offenses. Aggressive overcriminalization of these drugs at the federal level interferes with states' ability to control their own drug policies and establish innovative prevention and treatment programs.

On March 20, 2013, I introduced S. 619 with my colleague Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it awaits further consideration. Please be assured I will keep your thoughts in mind as Congress continues to consider reforms to our criminal justice and prison systems.

Once more, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please be assured that as I serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the United States Senate, I will work vigorously to defend the proper role of government, as outlined by the Constitution.

Sincerely,

Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:30 AM
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I just did a quick search and it looks as if this has been introduced several times and has failed. It is true that Rand Paul is behind it but it looks like it was first introduced in 2013. Here is the pdf form of the first filing.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-...-113s619is.pdf

I have to be fair, Paul is not high on my list of people I trust when it comes to statements he makes. I personally think he's wishy washy. Yes, mandatory minimums suck and as his letter stated seem to be a one size fits all but I don't have a lot of hope that he's going to get much done about them.

Mandatory minimums aside, the courts have ruled that judges do not have to follow the "sentencing guidelines" given by the federal government system and only have to use them as a "guide." As long as they give their reasons for sentencing outside the guidelines the courts have ruled they are within their rights. This is likely why you are seeing less DA's appeal sentences given by judges that they think are unfair.
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Old 10-18-2018, 11:40 AM
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Whether this bill passes or not will have no affect on the Kentucky state DOC or Kentucky's sentencing laws. It is Federal only.

If you'd like to advocate for Kentucky's inmate's and their families, you may want to start by writing your local state Representative(s)....and VOTE November 6th.

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/home.htm
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:10 PM
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Rand Paul lost my respect years ago when he said student loans should be banned. If you can't afford to go to college and pay out of your own pocket, then don't go. Idiot.

And yeah, hate to burst your bubble but he's a US congressman so he only has a say-so in the federal prison system, not state prisons.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sass4221 View Post
Rand Paul lost my respect years ago when he said student loans should be banned. If you can't afford to go to college and pay out of your own pocket, then don't go. Idiot.

And yeah, hate to burst your bubble but he's a US congressman so he only has a say-so in the federal prison system, not state prisons.
I totally agree with you on Paul but I must admit that he's slightly better than the other representative from KY...McConnell .... aka TurtleFace
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:31 AM
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Thank you all for your responses. I do vote and I try to advocate for families and prisoners alike. I trust no one in the government they usually say one thing then do another. I just thought it was interesting that he actually wrote back. I don't get on here a whole lot because I work so much but I truly appreciate everyone's input so Thank You
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:54 AM
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In my humble opinion, they are both useless!
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Old Yesterday, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patchouli View Post
Whether this bill passes or not will have no affect on the Kentucky state DOC or Kentucky's sentencing laws. It is Federal only.

If you'd like to advocate for Kentucky's inmate's and their families, you may want to start by writing your local state Representative(s)....and VOTE November 6th.


Gosh I really hate to sound stupid, but here goes. What can I do to advocate for Kentucky's inmates? How do I go about doing it? I did check the link, so I know who my Representative is. And most important, how do I go about it without stepping on toes?
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