Proposal to reduce sentencing charges received opposition from Republicans in Minnesota: ‘Absolutely not the right thing to do’ – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The push to reduce sentencing for felony convictions in Minnesota is being pushed back by State Republican lawmakers.

The recent surge in violent crime has prompted some lawmakers to want the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Committee to reconsider its proposal.

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The Sentencing Guidelines Committee is designed to bring uniformity to sentencing across the state. The trustees are experts in their fields and are appointed to serve.

The committee’s latest proposal is drawing strong emotions from both its supporters and opponents.

“We’ve seen a real increase in violent crime, the majority of the crime we’ve seen is by people on probation, people who are released early or on probation instead of going to prison. prison, and now they are committing violent crimes. This is not a hypothetical issue right now,” said Representative Anne Neu Brindley (R-North Branch).

“Many of these people are chemical dependents,” said Representative Jamie Long (D-Minneapolis). “They really need treatment, they don’t need prison, and so I think we should look to the experts on the Sentencing Guidelines Committee who are trying to come up with a fair process on how to do this. we sentencing people in Minnesota.”

Sentencing instructions operate on a point system. Offenders receive points for previous felonies, misdemeanors, and if they were on probation for the offence. The more points, the longer the sentence.

The committee’s recommendation would have points removed if the crime was committed while on probation.

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“We’re talking about repeat offenders and reducing those sentences, and that’s absolutely not the right thing to do,” Brindley said.

“Their job is to make sentencing fairer, and they’re just looking at a system to see if we should punish people who are on probation or pardon when they commit crimes more than people do. guilty or not,” Long said.

While some say changing the guidelines will keep the most serious offenders on the streets, others say the exact opposite.

“The data shows that the majority of individuals who get these extra points — because they’re on probation or parole — are low-level drug offenders, low-level property criminals,” Long said. “Those are the people we’re talking about the most.”

The committee is designed by lawmakers to keep decisions like this out of the political realm.

A public hearing to discuss the potential changes will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Minnesota State Capitol.

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