In December 2018 President Trump signed into law a bill that is considered by some to make sweeping changes to federal sentences. Believed to have been a key behind the scenes player was Jared Kushner, whose father spent time in federal prison when he was younger.
Both Republicans and Democrats supported this bill which includes some of the following changes:
- Federal judges are now given more leeway when sentencing some drug offenders
- Mandatory life sentences for some drug offenders with three convictions is no longer mandatory in all cases
- About 2,600 federal prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses before August 2010 the opportunity to petition for a reduced sentence
- Prisoners are given incentivizes to participate in programs designed to reduce the risk of recidivism. Prisoners who participate in these programs are rewarded with earlier release
- Prisoners are also able to earn seven days off of their sentence per year for good behavior
- Eligibility is expanded for elderly or terminally ill prisoners who are eligible for compassionate release.
While many people support this bill there are those who believe that this bill does not go far enough to fix the issues that have been associated with the failed war on drugs.