Post Date: March 13, 2014
(USA Today) — Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday will endorse proposed reductions to federal sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders, which would cut average prison sentences by 11 months.
In testimony prepared for delivery before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Holder said the changes would “rein in federal prison spending while focusing limited resources on the most serious threats to public safety.”
The changes, if adopted later this year, would reduce the federal prison population by an estimated 6,550 inmates in five years. Of the 216,000 inmates in the federal system, about half have been convicted of drug-related crimes.
The attorney general’s endorsement is an extension of a series of criminal justice proposals announced in August aimed in part at cutting the federal prison population, which requires about 25% of the Justice Department’s budget to maintain.
“This over-reliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable,” Holder said in the written remarks, ”it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate.
“By reserving the most severe penalties for dangerous and violent drug traffickers, we can better promote public safety, deterrence and rehabilitation while saving billions of dollars and strengthening communities.” Read the article