Source: AP / theGrio
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday endorsed a proposal that would result in shorter prison sentences for many nonviolent drug traffickers, saying the change would rein in runaway federal prison costs and create a fairer criminal justice system.
Holder’s backing for a U.S. Sentencing Commission proposal to lower the guideline penalties is part of a broader Justice Department effort to lessen punishment for nonviolent drug dealers. He has been pressing to ease long mandatory sentences and has called for greater discretion for judges in sentencing.
“This focused reliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable — it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate,” Holder said in an appearance before the Sentencing Commission, an independent agency that establishes sentencing policies.
In a country where nearly half of all federal inmates are serving time for drug crimes, the harshest penalties should be reserved for violent drug defendants and criminals with long rap sheets, Holder said.
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