GUAM - Legislation has been introduced that would allow Superior Court judges greater discretion when sentencing non-violent offenders. Bill 188, otherwise known as the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 was introduced by Senator Tina Muna Barnes and Vice Speaker BJ Cruz. Barnes says the bill would allow judges to depart from imposing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders under certain specific conditions.
"With our overcrowding of the prisons, it's really important that we look at giving the opportunity for the judges to be able to sentence some of these defendants for those crimes at a lesser commitment than what is being presented. And I will tell you this is not to take away from any of those hard crimes but to give the judges more authority if they feel it is a humanitarian presentation to give that person a lesser sentence than what is prescribed by the law" the senator quipped.
She adds similar legislation has been accepted in other US jurisdictions.