United States Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for huge changes in the American criminal justice system in an effort to take on the issue of prison overcrowding, in a speech he delivered to the American Bar Association in San Francisco.
“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason. We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate — not merely to convict, warehouse and forget,” Holder says.
He also wants to change Justice Department policy so low-level, non-violent drug offenders that aren’t associated with gangs, cartels or large organizations aren’t charged with offenses that put them under mandatory minimum prison sentences. It also will put more focus on larger scale criminals.
Instead, he would like them to be charged with offenses for which accompanying sentences “are better suited to their individual conduct, rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins.”
Holder said he also favors diverting people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs and expanding a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.
It is said that this may lead to bipartisan support.
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