- Saturday, August 24, 2013
United States Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the American Bar Association (“ABA”) last week to announce sweeping reversals on legislation that was intended to further the War on Drugs. Attorney General Holder told the ABA that in 2010, $80 billion in federal spending went towards incarceration, and that federal prisons are filled to forty percent beyond capacity. Mandatory minimum sentences are partly responsible for those costs and numbers.
Holder is introducing a new program call “Right on Crime.” This program can only reach as far as the Department of Justice’s jurisdiction, but he lamented that so far, Congress has been unwilling to pass legislation that will do away with mandatory minimum sentences. Holder is also seeking to have local lawmakers to create guidelines that are in line with the federal goals, which would allow judges more discretion in tailoring sentences to the crime and the offender, rather than impose minimum sentences regardless.
While this won’t change what is still illegal in this country, it will bring about a new era of punitive action. Many, including Attorney General Holder, are hopeful that it will be one that is rooted in common sense and not the reaction of politicians who are afraid of being labeled as “soft on crime”. Read the full story here
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Contributed by Laura Martin