Attorney General Eric Holder will endorse the Obama administration's plan to reduce jail sentences for low-level drug-dealers by a year, officials say.
The Washington Post reports that Holder's proposal would drop the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of 500 grams of cocaine or 28 grams of crack to 51 to 63 months, down from 63 to 78 months. Citing figures from the Department of Justice, the Post notes that this would affect 70 percent of drug 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 explained. "Although the United States comprises just five percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners."
Holder feels that by adjusting the present sentencing structure, the U.S. can save money, as well as focus on bigger threats. "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," he explained.
If the plan is approved, the revised guidelines for sentencing would be implemented in November. In the interim, Holder will urge prosecutors not to lobby for lengthy sentences.
[via The Washington Post]