Delaware Mandatory Minimum Sunset Bill 6/23/00

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Two Delaware legislators, State Senators Liane Sorenson of the 6th Senatorial District and Myrna Bair of the 5th District, both Republicans, have introduced a bill that would end the state's current mandatory minimum sentence regime.

Delaware Senate Bill 331 would "sunset," or end, every mandatory minimum sentence in the Delaware Code two years after the bill is passed.  The bill would, however, allow for mandatory minimums for any particular crime to be reenacted upon recommendation by a special commission empowered to review all such sentences.

Along with much of the nation, Delaware spent the last few years bleeding money in a prison-building binge largely necessitated by harsh mandatory minimum sentences.  According to the Delaware Department of Corrections, the state prison population has increased 58% in the 1990s.  The state spent $180 million for prison space to accommodate this influx.

In a recent opinion piece in the Newark (Delaware) Post, Senator Sorenson wrote that constituent pressure to "do something" about mandatory minimums left her "quite surprised."

But, she added, "I believe that mandatory minimum sentencing has tied the hands of Delaware judges, ruined the lives of many Delawareans who made a relatively minor mistake and cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  I believe it is time for a change."

To learn more about mandatory minimum sentencing, visit Families Against Mandatory Minimums at http://www.famm.org.

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Issue #142, 6/23/00 Senate Passes Colombia Military Assistance, Marginal Differences With House Version Head to Conference Committee, What Next? | Cops and Drugs: Police Departments Tolerating Past Drug Use by Job Applicants | Canadian Marijuana Party Forms: "Look Out Ottawa, Here We Come!" | Australia: In Victoria, Drug Reform Comes Painfully Slow, Injection Room Bill Faces Tough Battle | Delaware Mandatory Minimum Sunset Bill | Lies, Damn Lies and the Drug Abuse Warning Network Statistics | US Surgeon General's Latest Research Review Supports Needle Exchange Programs | AlertS: Free Speech, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Washington State | HEA Campaign | Event Calendar | Editorial: Cops, Drug Use, Symbolism
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