The Justice Department is overhauling the way they deal with non-violent offenders. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled a plan to change how the federal government prosecutes drug offenders. The goals of his plan are to ease prison overcrowding, save taxpayer money, and limit the use of unjust mandatory minimum sentences. Holder's prepared remarks say, “low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels, will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.”
Attorney General Holder wants to create local guidelines to determine which cases should be subject to federal charges, and he wants to work with Congress to give federal judges more discretion in applying harsh mandatory minimum sentences. It's unclear if these suggested changes are a direct result of several states decriminalizing marijuana, or if Eric Holder and the Justice Department are simply looking for a better way to handle drug-related crime.
Our current drug policy has led to soaring prison populations, sky-rocketing taxpayer costs, and huge profits for the private prison industry. Holder's remarks say that the changes he's suggesting could save our nation billions of dollars in prison costs, and he's even considering a plan to ease prison over-crowding by releasing inmates who “pose no threat to the public.” These changes could have a huge impact on how our nation deals with drugs, and reduce the number of people subjected to the for-profit prison industry.
Many Americans have called for similar changes to our Justice System for decades, and they'll be thrilled to see some common sense in our drug policy. It's unlikely that the for-profit prison industry and their shills in Congress will support this plan, but the majority of Americans agree with Eric Holder's desire to wind down Nixon's ill-conceived War on Drugs.
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