"We've never found any evidence that increasing mandatory minimum sentences works," Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennen Center for Justice, tells Rolling Stone. "Instead, most of the research we've done has shown that prison sentences can be safely decreased with or without any adverse consequences for public safety. This is exactly the wrong direction to be going."Last week, Rutledge filed suit against three drug companies for deploying "marketing schemes and misinformation campaigns" that she said helped create the state's opioid crisis.
Criminal justice reform picked up broad bipartisan support in the last Congress and it seemed like it had the support to pass, but it was quietly derailed behind the scenes by Cotton and then-Senator Jeff Sessions, which isn't lost on Grawert.
"It's notable that Cotton and Sessions used to be sort of the heckler's veto, sort of the only people saying that sentencing reform wasn't worth moving, and now they're the ones setting party policy, and with the notable exception of [Republican Judiciary Chairman] Chuck Grassley, not a lot of Republican officials are speaking out against them," Grawert adds.