In a speech set for Tuesday, obtained by BuzzFeed, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman will advocate for a reassessment of the government’s current “war on drugs” policy.
While the current penalties for drug-related offenses, and the swollen prison population that they create, are long overdue for reform, Portman is also apparently set to rebuke President Obama’s plan to grant clemency to hundreds of non-violent offenders. That tactic, according to Portman, is “like placing a Band-Aid on a deep wound. It may cover up the problem of prison overcrowding today, but it doesn’t address the deeper problem that drives recidivism.”
As The Wire noted last month, the Department of Justice has constructed a set of criteria for granting clemency to non-violent drug offenders who received harsh sentences due, in part, to mandatory minimum sentencing.
Portman—a prominent Republican whose name is sometimes mentioned in the same sentence as the number 2016—will also advocate on Tuesday for reauthorization of the Second Chance Act, which is meant to reduce recidivism by providing programs such as job training and drug counseling.