Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/13/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Reforms include less use of mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has called for drastic restructuring for the national prison system. "We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate - not merely to convict, warehouse and forget," Holder has declared.

'Aggressive enforcement of federal criminal laws is necessary,' U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says, but 'we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.'

"Aggressive enforcement of federal criminal laws is necessary," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says, but "we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/13/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, prison reforms, non-violent crimes, war on drugs


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Aggressive enforcement of federal criminal laws is necessary," Holder says, but "we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.

"Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it," he said.

Some of the measures proposed by older include scaling back the use of harsh prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes. Holder has also called for the diversion of people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs. He also wishes to expand programs to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.

Holder, at a speech at the American Bar Association in San Francisco this week says he is mandating a change to Justice Department policy. The changes will enable low-level, non-violent drug offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will not be charged with offenses that impose mandatory minimum sentences.

Mandatory minimum prison sentences, which are largely the result of the government's war on drugs in the 1980s, limit the power of judges to impose shorter prison terms.

Under the altered policy, Holder says that defendants will instead 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."

Federal prisons in the U.S. are currently operating at nearly 40 percent above capacity and hold more than 219,000 inmates. Almost half of them are serving time for drug-related crimes. Many of the inmates have substance abuse disorders. Nine million to 10 million prisoners go through local jails each year.

Holder says that 17 states have since directed money away from prison construction and toward programs and services such as treatment and supervision, designed to reduce the problem of repeat offenders.

In Kentucky, legislation has reserved prison beds for the most serious offenders and refocused resources on community supervision. The state, Holder said, is projected to reduce its prison population by more than 3,000 over the next 10 years, saving more than $400 million.

Holder also noted the state of Texas for changes of policy regarding non-violent offenders and changes to parole policies. Holder says that these changes have brought about a reduction in the prison population of more than 5,000 inmates last year. He said similar efforts helped Arkansas reduce its prison population by more than 1,400.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

In President Obama's war on religious freedom the people suffer another loss Watch

Image of A July 21 executive order has dealt a huge blow to the cause of freedom of religion in the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's July 21 executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual-self-identification has lead to strong criticism from several prominent U.S. bishops, calling the executive order "unprecedented and extreme." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Efforts against female genital mutilation could be thwarted by population growth Watch

Image of Due partly to community activism and legislation, the prevalence of FGM, which involves the cutting away of the external female genitalia, and the marriage of girls under the age of 18 has decreased slightly over the last 30 years, UNICEF said.

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Advances in fighting female genital mutilation, or FGM and child marriage could be offset by population growth unless the rate of progress increases, according to new data released Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


FREE SPEECH VIOLATED: Tea party groups' lawsuit against IRS proceeds Watch

Image of Among the individuals named in the lawsuit is Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at that time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not going to take it - and they're taking their claims to court. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the Internal Revenue Service. The judge rejected a request by the federal government to dismiss all the ... continue reading


'Suing the president is the right path to go down here,' Boehner declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives has no plans to use its own constitutional authority to withhold funding from actions by President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that if the president takes actions that exceed his constitutional authority, ... continue reading


Federal government says state death penalties are 'unconstitutional' Watch

Image of A federal judge has called California's death penalty unconstitutional. Surprisingly though, this judge is a conservative republican, a party that has long opposed federal overreach into state rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A federal judge ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutional on July 16, claiming that the state's system is arbitrary, unfair, and cruel and unusual because of a lengthy process that leaves prisoners in the dark about their actual death row status. ... continue reading


'American people have a right to know,' Issa proclaims Watch

Image of Darrel Issa says that Simas' testimony was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California said administration claims that White House political director David Simas was immune from testimony were "absurd" and "deeply disturbing." Defying a subpoena, Issa has now set up a new high-profile fight ... continue reading


Cheat on your taxes? It just got a lot easier Watch

Image of If you still fear a knock at your door anytime soon, it must be noted that one's chances of getting audited vary greatly and are based on income.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you cheat on your taxes - or senselessly worry that some indiscretion in your recent past will have the Internal Revenue Service shortly breathing down your neck - things just got a little bit brighter. The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget ... continue reading


While federal tax revenues are at an all-time high - federal government still running a deficit Watch

Image of What's the old saying?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While federal tax revenues continue to run at a record pace in fiscal 2014, their still no way out of the forest yet. The federal government's total receipts for the fiscal year closed last month at an unprecedented $2,258,565,000,000, according to the Monthly ... continue reading


President Obama accused of being insufficiently engaged in border crisis Watch

Image of President Obama wishes to make clear to parents and adults in Central America that there is no payoff for sending their children on the dangerous journey northward.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With hundreds, if not thousands of unaccompanied children streaming across the United States' southwest border with Texas - and more on the way - America's border security and policies may be in transition. Republicans and some Democrats have since accused U.S. ... continue reading


Put the spotlight - ON ME: Obama uses first person singular 99 TIMES in speech Watch

Image of In President Obama's recent speech, he used a first person singular, on average, every 12 seconds.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"I," "Me," sand "My" were words used by U.S. President Barack Obama in a speech vowing unilateral action. In fact, Obama used the first person singular a whopping 199 times. This figure did not account for instances when he quoted a letter from a citizen or ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,2 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 36:6-7, 8-9, 10-11
6 your saving justice is like towering mountains, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:10-17
10 Then the disciples went up to him and asked, 'Why ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 24th, 2014 Image

St. John Boste
July 24: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was born at ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter