S. 353 / H.R. 706, The Justice Safety Valve Act

Status: S. 353 and H.R. 706 did not become law during the 114th Congress.

 

Summary:  The Justice Safety Valve Act, if passed, will create a brand-new, broad “safety valve” that will apply to all federal crimes carrying mandatory minimum sentences.  If passed, the Justice Safety Valve Act will allow judges to sentence federal offenders below the mandatory minimum sentence whenever that minimum term does not fulfill the goals of punishment and other sentencing criteria listed at 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). This bill, if passed, would
(1) prevent unjust, absurd, or unintended results from the application of mandatory minimum sentencing laws;
(2) save taxpayers money by requiring less incarceration for those who do not need lengthy mandatory minimum sentences; and
(3) protect the public by ensuring that lengthy and expensive prison terms are reserved for the most dangerous offenders, and that funding is preserved for law enforcement and victim services.

FAMM supported both the House and Senate versions of this bill.

Resources:

Current Drug Safety Valve: 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)

FAQ: The Justice Safety Valve Act of 2015

JSVA’s Expanded Safety Valve Criteria: 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)

Chart: Complete list of federal mandatory minimum statutes

Chart: Mandatory minimum drug sentences, 21 U.S.C. § 841

Chart: Mandatory minimum gun sentences: Use or carrying a gun, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

Hearings and Testimony:

Hearing: “Reevaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences,” before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Sept. 18, 2013)

Testimony of Brett Tolman, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Sept. 18, 2013)

Testimony of Marc Levin, Policy Director, Right on Crime Initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Sept. 18, 2013)

Statement of Julie Stewart, President, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Sept. 18, 2013)