A Koch Industries statement authored by attorney Mark Holden criticized U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for opposing the Koch brothers backed Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.
“We are disappointed that some members, including Senator Cruz, who have supported the need for reform and been strong supporters of the Bill of Rights did not support this bill. We are grateful that Senator [Mike] Lee corrected the record to make clear that the bill will address grave injustices in our system, free up resources to combat violent crime and enhance protections against the release of violent criminals,” read Holden’s statement on behalf of Koch Industries.
Cruz expressed his concerns that the bill might lead to the release of violent gun criminals and undocumented immigrants.
“Under the [retroactive] terms of this bill, 7,082 federal prisoners would be eligible for release. Now none of us know what those 7,082 prisoners did. None of us know what the underlying conduct was that the prosecutors may have plea-bargained down under the existing sentencing laws and that they may not have entered that plea bargain if they had known that the sentencing laws would be lessened,” said Cruz in an October 22 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the legislation.
“But I for one at a time when police officers across this country are under assault right now, are being vilified right now, and when we’re seeing violent crime spiking in our cities across the country, I think it would be a serious mistake for the Senate to pass legislation providing for 7,082 convicted criminals potentially to be released early.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) disagreed with Cruz’s characterization that the bill’s retroactive component could lead to a free-for-all release of violent criminals.
“We put together this bill that requires a case-by-case analysis, a case-by-case scrutiny by the federal district judge in question and by the prosecutors involved in each case to consider the nature of each offense and the circumstances of each offense. Also they will consider the offender’s conduct while in prison and the possible risk posed to public safety by any early release that might occur under these provisions,” Sen. Lee said during the hearing, according to The Hill.
Koch Industries attorney Mark Holden wrote, “While not perfect, the bill contains important reforms that will enhance public safety, honor and protect the Bill of Rights, help remove barriers to opportunity for the least advantaged and make our criminal justice system more fair and just for all Americans. Many of these reforms have worked well in states like Texas, Georgia and Utah, and have reduced crime rates, reduced spending, reduced incarceration rates and enabled former offenders and their families to live productive lives.”
The bill ultimately passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15-5, meaning its next step is a vote before the full Senate.
Watch Truth in Media’s Consider This video, embedded below, which puts the scope of the mass incarceration of non-violent offenders under the U.S. War on Drugs into perspective.