The United States has been experiencing increasingly high levels of incarceration, particularly over the last three decades. Several states have realized such levels are not sustainable and have been examining potential solutions to lower incarceration rates. One proposed solution is to allow greater flexibility for judges when sentencing nonviolent, low-risk offenders. By allowing judges to depart from mandatory minimums for nonviolent, low-risk offenders, incarceration rates drop without compromising public safety.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model Justice Safety Valve Act allows for discretion during sentencing of certain individuals. Such a sentencing structure would help to reduce the cost of incarceration without compromising public safety.