The Obama administration plans to ease mandatory prison sentences for convicted drug dealers. The new policy will benefit black drug offenders who are disproportionately affected by the mandatory sentences.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made the announcement Monday as part of a comprehensive prison reform package to reduce prison sentences for elderly, nonviolent inmates whose drug offenses are not gang-related or part of a large-scale drug operation (such as Black Mafia Family).
Interestingly enough, President Obama was an avid drug user in his college days.
“We must face the reality that, as it stands, our system is, in too many ways, broken,” Holder said. “And with an outsized, unnecessarily large prison population, we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, to deter and to rehabilitate — not merely to warehouse and to forget.”
“A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” Holder said Monday. (Excerpts of his prepared remarks were provided Sunday to The Washington Post.) He added that “many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate these problems rather than alleviate them.”
It is clear that “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” Holder said. “We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation,” he added later in the speech.
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