Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Atty. Gen. Holder Moves To Ease Federal Drug Sentences

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new policy to ease federal prison overcrowding, lower taxpayer spending on prisons and ease unjustly long, "draconian" sentences. The administration will tell federal prosecutors that they may not list amounts of illegal substances when indicting low-level, non-violent drug suspects, thus avoiding strict federal mandatory minimum sentences. Watch Holder make his case:

HOLDER: Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason, and in recent years, black male offenders have received sentences nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes. This isn't just unacceptable; it is shameful. We will start by fundamentally rethinking the notion of mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes. Some statutes that mandate inflexible sentences–and this is regardless of the individual conduct that is at issue in a particular case–reduce the discretion available to prosecutors, judges and to juries because they often times generate unfairly long sentences, they breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. This is why I have today mandated a modification of the Justice Department's charging policies so that certain low-level, non-violent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.

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