From an account by the Associated Press:
Senate votes to eliminate mandatory minimum drug sentences
The Rhode Island Senate voted to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. It's an effort to ease the growing inmate population at the state prison in Cranston. The legislation approved yesterday would give judges more discretion in sentencing people on drug charges -- and would decrease the maximum prison terms for major drug offenses. It also would enable judges to send drug users to treatment, rather than prison, in certain circumstances. Senator Rhoda Perry, the bill's sponsor, says the vote represents a watershed moment in the sentencing of drug offenders in Rhode Island. The House of Representatives is expected to take up a companion bill today.