In a bit of under-reported news, Attorney General Eric Holder has called for reduced sentencing guidelines for federal judges for drug offenses while preserving harsh punishment for violent offenders.
“Certain types of cases result in too many Americans going to prison for far too long, and at times for no truly good public safety reason,” Holder told the U.S. Sentencing Commission. “Although the United States comprises just five percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.” [...]
“By reserving the most severe penalties for dangerous and violent drug traffickers, we can better protect public safety, deterrence and rehabilitation while saving billions of dollars and strengthening communities,” Holder said Thursday.
The new guidelines proposed by Holder will affect up to 70 percent of drug offenders according to the Justice Department. The guidelines are expect to be approved by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Not to diminish the importance of this move — and it is extremely important — I believe it’s an even bigger imperative to restore the voting rights of felons convicted of non-violent drug offenses. Unfortunately that’s far more complicated.
With that said, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration haven’t merely talked about tackling the program of overcrowded prisons or the Prison Industrial Complex, they’re actually doing something about it. In several cases across the South, the Department of Justice is intervening and prosecuting those responsible for engineering explicit school-to-prison pipelines. This is justice.
In previous times this would be unthinkable.
(h/t Attorney Kush Arora)