Attorney General Eric Holder will announce major drug sentencing reforms today.
The Justice Department will avoid charging low-level and nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentences, as long as they’re not connected with criminal organizations.
U.S. attorneys across the country will also be afforded with greater prosecutorial discretion.
The “Smart On Crime” plan that Holder is announcing intends to lower the overall federal prison population. As part of that measure, Holder will announce, elderly prisoners who committed no violent crimes and served a significant portion of their sentences may be eligible for early release.
“Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” Holder will say. “However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it.”
Under the drug policy, Holder will say defendants would be “charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are better suited to their individual conduct, rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins.”
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