First Step Toward Drug-Related Sentencing Reform


By Anika Khubchandani and Peter Eibert

WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week passed the bipartisan First Step Implementation Act that will offer people serving lengthy sentences involving drug-related offenses, some of which include life without parole, chances to reduce their sentences.

The landmark legislation builds on the 2018 First Step Act which also attempted to lessen long sentences for drug-related offenses. Most importantly, this act gives judges a lot of discretion when deciding how to sentence offenders.

The goal is to grant judges the opportunity to sentence people below mandatory minimums. This act’s stipulations can also be applied to those already serving time for drug-related offenses which may help up to 4,000 people.

Judges can also amend sentences for people who have been in prison for at least 20 years, or for people who were minors when they committed their crimes.

In addition, the Judiciary Committee has made serious efforts to improve the safety of inmates and address mass incarceration by passing the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act.

By creating new early release opportunities for elderly and terminally ill people in prisons, this act has already improved the well-being of prisoners during the pandemic and will continue to make a positive impact even after the end of the public health crisis, claim supporters.

Anika Khubchandani is a 4th year student at UC Davis majoring in both Political Science and Economics. She is from San Jose, CA.

Peter Eibert is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. He is originally from Half Moon Bay, California.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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