Senator David Perdue Statement on Revised Criminal Leniency Bill

“The idea that we are only allowing low-level criminals out of jail is a smoke screen.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement regarding the revised version of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, legislation that would still let dangerous felons, like Wendell Callahan, out of prison early: 

“Responsible changes to the federal criminal justice system should not allow dangerous felons, many of whom have multiple prior convictions for violent crimes, out of prison early. Under the revised Senate bill announced today, violent criminals like Wendell Callahan, who brutally murdered his ex-girlfriend and her two young daughters, would still be eligible for early release. Ironically, the hundreds of truly low-level drug offenders currently serving time in federal custody would not qualify for leniency under the revised bill because their offenses aren’t serious enough. Instead, the bill still allows for the release of serious traffickers, even if they have previously committed violent felonies, like Callahan. 

“Keep in mind that these offenders will join the more than 46,000 drug traffickers already slated for early release by the U.S. Sentencing Commission – 23% of the total federal prison population. The result will be tens of thousands of serious drug traffickers back on the streets. I am also troubled by new language added to the bill that some media reports are calling the ‘Scarface’ provision, which cuts sentences for international traffickers who smuggle large quantities of drugs into our nation by boat or submarine.

“Proponents of this criminal leniency bill have waged a disinformation campaign because they simply want to reduce the number of people in federal prison. The idea that we are only allowing low-level criminals out of jail is a smoke screen. The bill’s definition of what constitutes a ‘serious violent felony’ creates a loophole that would allow these serious felons to slip through the system. As currently written, this bill would put thousands of dangerous felons back on the streets early, potentially endangering our families and communities, and therefore I still cannot support it.”

Senator Perdue supports responsible criminal justice reform and has been working to improve this bill since it was first debated in the Senate Judiciary Committee last October. Unfortunately, Senator Perdue’s amendments, which would have protected victims and communities, were not adopted, and the current bill is still dangerous for America