Post Date: April 8, 2014
Take a look at this excerpt from Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee:
Across the board, the Department’s comprehensive efforts reflect our commitment to integrity and equal justice – in every case and circumstance. And nowhere is this commitment stronger than in our work to strengthen America’s federal criminal justice system. Through the Smart on Crime initiative I announced last August, my colleagues and I are taking action on a number of evidence-based reforms – including modifications to the Department’s charging policies with regard to mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent, low-level drug crimes. This commonsense change will ensure that the toughest penalties are reserved for the most dangerous or violent drug traffickers. And I’m pleased to note that Members of this Committee have shown tremendous leadership in the effort to codify this approach into law.
I’ve been proud to join many of you in supporting the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act – introduced by Representatives Scott and Labrador and cosponsored by Ranking Member Conyers – which would give judges more discretion in determining appropriate sentences for people convicted of certain federal drug crimes. And I pledge to keep working with leaders like you – and like Senator Rand Paul and others – to address the collateral consequences of certain convictions, including felony disenfranchisement policies that permanently deny formerly incarcerated people their right to vote.
We will never be able to simply arrest and incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation. That’s why we need to be both tough and smart in our fight against crime and the conditions and behaviors that breed it. And this struggle must extend beyond our fight to combat gun-, gang-, and drug-fueled violence – to include civil rights violations and financial and health care fraud crimes that harm people and endanger the livelihoods of hardworking Americans from coast to coast.