Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing

Monday August 12, 2013, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who are not involved with gangs or drug cartel will no longer be charged with offenses that lead to minimum mandatory sentencing. This new proposal is part of a prison reform package that is also aimed to reduce sentences for elderly nonviolent inmates who show no threat to the community.

“We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation,” Holder announced Monday. The plan includes allowing judges to have more discretion when applying mandatory minimum sentences to offenders, and instructing prosecutors on ways to write their criminal complaints when charging the offenders to avoid the minimum sentences as well.

U.S. federal prisons hold more than 219,000 inmates, making the prisons 40% over capacity. The U.S. is also responsible for the incarcerations of a quarter of the world’s prisoners according to the facts Holder presented Monday.

tennessean.com

tennessean.com

According to The Washington Post, the cost of incarceration in 2010 was $80 billion dollars. With approval of Holder’s proposal, it is projected that hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue would be salvaged and used towards education, health care, and other government services.

Holder’s proposal is a significant change to The Anti-Abuse Act of 1986. After President Reagan signed the drug bill, $1.7 billion dollars was allocated to new prisons, drug education, and drug treatment to fight the war on drugs. Mandatory minimum sentences were also established as penalties for drug offenses: possession of at least one kilogram of heroin or five kilograms of cocaine will land an offender a minimum of ten years in prison, and a five year mandatory sentence for any offender who deals at least five grams of crack cocaine.

What is your opinion? Is Attorney General Holder’s plan the new vision for United States Justice? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter, or if you have any questions regarding this topic, call our office at (936) 294-1717, send us an e-mail at slms@shsu.edu, or make an appointment online at http://www.shsu.edu/legalservice. SLMS- Pointing Bearkats in the right direction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s