SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The people of Washington are talking prisons, namely U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Since the 1990s, the country’s prison population has grown nearly 800%.
Holder has a plan for the Justice Department: No more mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenders with no ties to large-scale operations, gangs or cartels.
Monday he spoke to members of the American Bar Association in San Francisco. He said, “By targeting the most serious offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, directing assistance to crime ‘hot spots,’ and pursuing new ways to promote public safety, deterrence, efficiency, and fairness – we in the federal government can become both smarter and tougher on crime.”
And tougher on the budget.
Cutting down on excessive prison terms would cut billions of dollars in incarceration costs for which taxpayers foot the bill.
The administration also hopes this proposal will address racial disparities in the prison population.
“Black male offenders have received sentences nearly 20% longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes,” said Holder.
The plan is not without controversy, but it is expected to get some backup from both sides of the political fence. And that’s just not something you see every day.