The states have started rolling back their "Tough on Crime" laws now that the true costs of incarcerating non-violent offenders are undisputable. Now it is time for Congress to do the same with federal drug laws.
There is no doubt that mandatory minimum sentences are excessively severe, are not applied consistently, and are not narrowly tailored to apply to those offenders who warrant such sentences. The United States Sentencing Commision, consisting of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats, just released a 645 page tome attacking the Anti-Drug Abuse Act on its 25th anniversary.
5 and 10 year mandatory minimum terms plus any number of ways to increase those terms deprive judges from the autonomy necessary to hear all mitigating circumstances that may justify a reduced term. 2 prior drug convictions and you are talking about a presumptive mandatory life term.
It is time to reserve our prisons for violent men and women. First offender drug offenders should not be triggering 5 year mandatory prison terms when other forms of supervision are available