The North Carolina Senate passed the First Step Act on Tuesday, legislation that would allow judges flexibility in mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug-related offenses.
State Sen. Danny Britt, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said this was needed because "mandatory minimums for drug-related offenses sometimes turn into de facto life sentences."
The act, which is modeled on federal legislation of the same name passed last year, permits a judge to reduce the sentence of someone convicted of a drug offense. It also allows those currently serving prison sentences for a drug-related offense to file a "Motion for Appropriate Relief" to reduce their sentence.
"The First Step Act rests on the premise that non-violent offenders can overcome addiction and turn their lives around -- that there is hope after incarceration," Britt said.